the etymology of anaphora leads to a Greek
word that translates as "repetition" and reached Latin as anaphora. The
concept has several uses and is usually linked to a rhetorical figure that
consists of repeating terms or ideas on purpose with an
aesthetic or discursive intention.
For example: “I always think of you, / I always have your face in mind. /
I always remember that summer night, / I always miss the other ”. In this
case, the anaphora consists of the repetition of the word "always" at
the beginning of each verse.
In the field of oratory, anaphora can be used to emphasize
ideas. It is a resource that is often used by political leaders in
electoral campaigns. A candidate for president can affirm in a speech: “I
will not accept pressure from the powerful; I will not yield to threats from
corporations; I will not let go of my convictions; I will not forget my
commitments to the people… ”. As can be seen, the anaphora used implies
repeating "I am not going to" at the beginning of the different
It is important to take care of the way in which this resource is used, since
it can be ineffective if it is abused or if the inappropriate parts are
repeated. On the other hand, anaphora is not always necessary, another reason
why we should study its potential effects before including it in a text. When
more than one word is repeated, the length of the sentence should not be
excessive, as this could cause some interference to the message.
All this leads us to think that anaphora is a very difficult resource to use
effectively and with good taste. Far from being a mere and arbitrary repetition of
words, it serves to group together a series of ideas and concepts that
we wish to emphasize and highlight, without interrupting the flow of
the text and in a way that can remain engraved in the reader's mind if it is
done in an aesthetic and moderate way.
For linguistics, anaphora is the identity link established
between an element of grammar and one or more terms that were mentioned
previously. In this area it has three well-differentiated senses, although they
are related in a certain way:
* the use of an expression that can only be interpreted with
the help of another, which is found in the context of the speech and is called
* the expression itself (usually a pronoun) whose meaning
depends on another that can also be found in context. In this case, it speaks
of deictics, that is, of words whose meaning depends on the issuer and
that can only be determined based on it;
* Faced with a restrictive interpretation of the two
previous points, we understand anaphora only as the cases in which the context
is before the anaphora. On the contrary, we can speak of a cataphora,
to refer to deictics who have a referent located after them in
To understand this meaning of the term anaphora, let's look at the
following example: «Before she was promoted to director of marketing, Adela
worked in the technical service sector»; As can be seen, the pronoun "la"
refers to "Adela", and it is found before we can understand its meaning,
which is why it responds to what is described in point 2, although it can also
be a cataphora, according to the vision restricted to point 3. All this is part
of the concept of linguistics known as endophore.
Anaphora, finally, is a fragment of the liturgy that has
different correspondences according to the rite in question.