Investigating the role of context in resolving discourse anaphoric relations: Does text genre variability play a part?

2014 IJRSLL – Volume 3 Issue 1


Eslami Rasekh, Abbas
University of Isfahan, Iran (

Tavakoli, Mansoor
University of Isfahan, Iran (

Ghadiri, Momene*
University of Isfahan, Iran (

Zabihi, Reza
University of Isfahan, Iran (


This study was an attempt to investigate the effect of text genre variability on the identification of referents and the choice of various appropriate anaphoric expressions. A total number of 35 homogenous graduate and undergraduate female EFL learners were opted for the study. The data was mainly collected via email messages. Two pieces of English texts with blank NP slots, including an expository text and a narrative one, were sent for all the participants through an email message. The participants were provided ample time to study the texts carefully, identify the elliptic referents and choose appropriate anaphoric expressions. The results of qualitative analysis of the data indicated that: a) in some environments identification is difficult regardless of short referential distance; b) there may be NP slots in which the majority of participants identify the referent differently from the writer; c) the presence of grammatical constraint dictates full NP selection conformity; d) recency of prior mention strongly determines the selectional performance; e) NP slot may contain referents whose mentions are purely optional; f) a long referential distance, between five to 20 clauses intervening between the two subsequent mentions of a given referent, may not impact on the difficulty of identification of referent; g) there is no identical pattern of reference in all cases of NP selection. In all, concerning the identification of referents, the results revealed a significant difference between expository and narrative text genres (p= .003 < .05) though the difference between means were not high. With regards to the choice of anaphoric expressions, the results suggested significant difference between narrative and expository texts in terms of choice of NP of (p= .003 < 0.05) and PRN (p= .000 < 0.05).

Keywords: text genre variability; expository text; narrative text; identification of referents; choice of anaphoric expressions



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