Rethinking reference: Towards a holistic approach to linguistic reference

Libby C Chernouski, Purdue University


In this thesis, a review of linguistic reference identifies four entities (speaker, hearer, term, and object) and their interrelations as falling under the umbrella of reference. This review brings to light certain underdeveloped areas of research into linguistic reference, and the second chapter addresses these gaps by distinguishing between the experiences of speaker and hearer as regards linguistic reference, differentiating between the cognitive processes required by each interlocutor, asking how the speaker establishes reference pre-utterance, and drawing on various pragmatic, philosophic, and semantic approaches and theories to see how they could begin to approach for this important issue. A holistic rethinking of reference reveals that it is both cognitive and communicative, but also importantly engaged in users' embodied experience. This thesis concludes by discussing the relationship between philosophy and linguistics and pushes for an interdisciplinary study of linguistic reference requiring attention in philosophy, semantics, and cognitive studies.




Raskin, Purdue University.

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