LINGUIST List 14.134

Wed Jan 15 2003

Diss: Pragmatics: Strahan "Long-distance..."

Editor for this issue: Karolina Owczarzak <>


  1. tania, Pragmatics: Strahan "Long-distance reflexives in Norwegian"

Message 1: Pragmatics: Strahan "Long-distance reflexives in Norwegian"

Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 20:31:18 +0000
From: tania <>
Subject: Pragmatics: Strahan "Long-distance reflexives in Norwegian"

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: University of Melbourne
Program: Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Tania E. Strahan 

Dissertation Title: 
Long-distance reflexives in Norwegian

Linguistic Field: 
Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics

Subject Language: 
Norwegian, Nynorsk (code: 4586)

Dissertation Director 1: Lesley Stirling
Dissertation Director 2: Nicholas Evans

Dissertation Abstract: 

Despite the work of linguists such as Thrainsson, Sigur�sson,
Pollard, Sag, Popowich and Kuno, among others, the analysis and
explanation of long-distance reflexives (LDRs) continues to be carried
out primarily in the field of syntax. A major goal of this thesis is
to show that, in Norwegian, both reflexives with local antecedents and
reflexives with non-local antecedents obey the same general
constraints. These constraints are based upon a confluence of factors
including the semantic features of reflexives as opposed to pronouns,
syntactic features such as clause structure, prosodic features such as
intonation, discourse features such as perspective and pragmatic
information such as conversational implicature.

A review of the literature on long-distance reflexives reveals several
problems with syntactic approaches, the greatest problem being that
they are based upon typological tendencies. Because of this, there are
exceptions to nearly every analysis. The notions of finite tense,
perspective, factivity and logophoricity are relevant to the
description and generation of long-distance reflexives in Norwegian,
but not exhaustively so.

A major contribution of this thesis to the body of literature
available on long-distance reflexives is the presentation of new
data. Grammaticality judgements were collected from 180 native
speakers of Norwegian on sentence frames which are often used as the
basis for arguments in the LDR literature. In addition, 27 speakers
completed an oral elicitation exercise, where 6 speakers used
LDR. Despite the fact that people disagree on the level of
acceptability an LDR construction has, this disagreement is regular,
and describable in terms of the Extended Reference Point Proposal,
which incorporates information derived from semantics, syntax,
prosody, discourse and pragmatics.
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