pragmatics In linguistics and related fields, pragmatics is the study of how context contributes to meaning. The field of study evaluates how human language is utilized in social interactions, as well as the relationship between the interpreter and the in ...
, exophora is reference to something extratextual, i.e. not in the immediate text, and contrasts with
endophora Endophora refers to the phenomenon of expressions that derive their reference from something within the surrounding text (endophors). For example, in the sentences "I saw Sally yesterday. She was lying on the beach", "she" is an ''endophoric'' ex ...
. Exophora can be
deictic In linguistics, deixis (, ) is the use of general words and phrases to refer to a specific time, place, or person in context, e.g., the words ''tomorrow'', ''there'', and ''they''. Words are deictic if their semantic meaning is fixed but their d ...
, in which special words or grammatical markings are used to make reference to something in the context of the utterance or speaker. For example,
pronoun In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun ( abbreviated ) is a word or a group of words that one may substitute for a noun or noun phrase. Pronouns have traditionally been regarded as one of the parts of speech, but some modern theorists would not ...
s are often exophoric, with words such as "this", "that", "here", "there", as in ''that chair over there is John's'' said while indicating the direction of the chair referred to. Given "Did the gardener water those plants?", it is quite possible that "those" refers back to the preceding text, to some earlier mention of those particular plants in the discussion. But it is also possible that it refers to the environment in which the dialogue is taking place—to the "context of situation", as it is called—where the plants in question are present and can be pointed to if necessary. The interpretation would be "those plants there, in front of us". This kind of reference is called exophora, since it takes us outside the text altogether. Exophoric reference is not cohesive, since it does not bind the two elements together into a text.


A type of exophora, homophora relates to a generic phrase that obtains a specific meaning through knowledge of its context; a specific example of homophora can variably be a "homophor" or a "homophoric reference". For example, the meaning of the phrase ''"the Queen"'' may be determined by the country in which it is spoken. Because there are many Queens throughout the world, the location of the speaker provides the extra information that allows an individual Queen to be identified. The precise origin of the term is not fully clear, but it is probably intended to suggest a
referring expression In linguistics, a referring expression (RE) is any noun phrase, or surrogate for a noun phrase, whose function in discourse is to identify some individual object. The technical terminology for ''identify'' differs a great deal from one school of ...
that always has the same (Greek ''hómos'') referent (within a given cultural context, of course). "Homophoric" seems to have been first used in the influential book by M.A.K. Halliday and R. Hasan, ''Cohesion in English'' (Longman, 1976, pp. 71 and 73).

See also

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External links

What is Homophora?
— from SIL International Semantics Pragmatics Rhetoric {{rhetoric-stub