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What is reference?

 

Definition
 

Here are two senses for reference:

 
  1. Reference is the symbolic relationship that a linguistic expression has with the concrete object or abstraction it represents.
  2. Reference is the relationship of one linguistic expression to another, in which one provides the information necessary to interpret the other.
Examples
 

Here is an example of reference:

 
  • A pronoun refers to the noun antecedent that is used to interpret it.
  • Kinds
      Here are some kinds of reference:
     
    Generic
      A reference is a kind of
     
    Sources
     

    Hartmann and Stork 1972 193

     

    Crystal 1985 259–260

     

    Pei and Gaynor 1954 184


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    Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

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