The role of syntactic categories in anaphora

1995 1995

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Abstract (summary)

The nature of personal pronouns is different from one language to another. In many languages, personal pronouns can be construed as bound variables in the logical representation. Except neuter forms, Japanese personal pronouns differ in this respect and cannot be construed as bound variables.

One of the major purposes of this thesis is to investigate this cross-linguistic difference from the viewpoint of the role syntactic categories play in anaphoric relations. The leading idea is that the so-called "functional" categories play an active role in binding. It will be shown that English personal pronouns are what I call "D-pronouns" and can be construed as bound variables, whereas Japanese personal pronouns are what I call "N-pronouns" and cannot be so construed.

This cross-linguistic difference does not exclude a language-internal variation, and it will be shown that English personal pronouns can behave as N-pronouns in certain constructions, and that certain types of Japanese personal pronouns can behave as D-pronouns. The language-internal asymmetry further supports the idea that the categorial distinction is what is at stake in binding.

Within the framework which crucially distinguishes binding from coreference (cf. Reinhart 1983, 1986, Grodzinsky and Reinhart 1993), the idea that only functional items can enter into binding leads us to expect that Japanese personal pronouns can only enter into coreference. I will in fact argue that Japanese personal pronouns are not subject to the binding theory and that their distribution is regulated in terms of a constraint on coreference.

The idea that functional categories play a major role in pronominal anaphora is extended to relations involving anaphors. By incorporating Borer's (1989) insight that an agreement head is anaphoric in obligatory control configuration, I will show that control in general involves binding into a functional head and discuss two basic types of obligatory control: control into CP and control into DP. I will further argue that control involves selection of an anaphoric feature by the matrix verb. This captures not only the parallelism between control and reflexive binding, but also certain differences between them.

Indexing (details)

0290: Linguistics
0679: Language
0291: Language
Identifier / keyword
Language, literature and linguistics; Japanese; personal pronouns
The role of syntactic categories in anaphora
Noguchi, Tohru
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 56/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Borer, Hagit
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
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