Long Distance Pronominalisation and Global Focus
Our corpus of descriptive text contains a significant number of long-distance pronominal references(8.4% of the total). In order to account for howthese pronouns are interpreted, we re-examine Grosz and Sidner’s theory of the attentional state, and in particular the use of the global focus to supplement centering theory. Our corpus evidence concerning these long-distance pronominal references, as well as studies of the use of descriptions, proper names and ambiguous uses of pronouns, lead us to conclude that a discourse focus stack mechanism of the type proposed by Sidner is essential to account for the use of these referring expressions. We suggest revising the Grosz & Sidner framework by allowing for the possibility that an entity in a focus space may have special status.