Research on Language and Computation

, Volume 6, Issue 3–4, pp 273–291 | Cite as

The German Temporal Anaphor danach—Ambiguity in Interpretation and Annotation

  • Mareile Hillevi Knees


I present different types of ambiguity that occur in annotating and resolving the German anaphoric adverbial danach (“thereafter”). By means of two pilot studies it is shown that referential ambiguity (i.e. the anaphor has several plausible referents) and structual dissociation (i.e. different antecedents specify the same referent) cause bad inter-annotator agreement. Both phenomena can only be explored in detail as the annotation studies do not only concentrate on the textual but also on the referential level involved in anaphoric references. Thus, it can be shown that the competing referents in most referentially ambiguous cases are more or less temporally and conceptually related to each other and specify a similiar reference time for danach (“thereafter”). Moreover, the competing antecedents often textually overlap so that some structurally dissociated cases can be handled by stricter annotation guidelines. Thus, considering the textual and the referential dimensions of anaphoric reference provides further insights into the cognitive processing of sentential anaphors like danach (“thereafter”).


Annotation study Pronominal adverb danach Referential ambiguity Temporal anaphora Sentential antecedent Structural dissociation Underspecification 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Germanistische SprachwissenschaftFriedrich-Schiller-Universität JenaJenaGermany

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