Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Regina Blass


This thesis examines concepts of reference assignment as seen in a written collection of narrative texts from Udi, a Caucasian language from the Lezgian family. This study explores the linguistic factors that affect reference assignment in Udi narrative in terms of participants, props and time and locative phrases.

Reference assignment incorporates reference forms such as nouns, noun phrases, proper names and pronouns. All of these features aid in building the mental representation of the texts in the mind of the reader. Surface-level linguistic factors, such as cohesion, coherence, backgrounding, foregrounding and focus also interact with reference forms.

This paper incorporates the Givenness Hierarchy, as proposed by Gundel, Hedberg and Zacharski (1993) and Relevance Theory (Wilson & Sperber 2004) to describe Udi linguistic reference forms. I will examine these forms according to Gundel, Hedberg and Zacharski's hierarchy as a method of the introduction and tracking of participants, especially, in the narrative texts of the language. In terms of Relevance Theory, I will weigh whether these devices are used to signal to the reader that the referents they introduce are worth the effort of creating an enriched encyclopedic entry, since they can indicate the most relevant characters and objects throughout the narratives. These forms appear to motivate the reader to create space in those entries for the many facets of a participant's role or characteristics.

Included in

Linguistics Commons