Wed, 07 Jul 2021
Katara is interested in linguistics. When school was over for the year and she had time to think about things, I gave her all my old linguistics books. The other day for some reason I mentioned to her that I had known people who were engaged in formal research on the problem of how to get a computer to know what a pronoun referred to, and that this is very difficult.
(I once had a co-worker who claimed that it was simple: the pronoun always refers back to the nearest noun. It wasn't hard to go back in his Slack history and find a counterexample he had uttered a few minutes before.)
Today I wanted to tell Katara about dummy pronouns, which refer to nothing at all. I intended to send her the example from Wiktionary:
I started my message:
Then I realized I no longer needed the example.