Tense, temporal expressions and demonstrative licensing in natural discourse.

Iker Zulaica-Hernandez and Javier Gutierrez-Rexach

SIGDIAL Workshop on Discourse and Dialogue (SIGDIAL 2009)
Queen Mary University of London, September 11-12, 2009


In deictic and anaphoric uses alike, demonstrative are highly context-dependent elements. When reference is transferred from a visual, three-dimensional context to the textual domain, information structure factors (i.e. the cognitive status of the antecedent, recency of mention, syntactic structure or the semantic type of the antecedent) have an effect on the speaker preferences for demonstrative anaphors over other referring expressions. In some languages, it looks like a correlation exists between demonstratives and tenses when these elements appear together in discourse. Thus, proximal demonstratives correlate better with present tenses whereas distal ones correlate with past tenses. In this paper, we present a corpus study of Spanish natural texts that analyzes that ways in which temporal expressions selectively favor the use of specific demonstratives thus confirming the contextual dependency of demonstrative anaphors.