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Evolutionary Syntax

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Academic Paper

Title: The dual status of middle-distance reflexives
Author: Ping Xue
Author: Fred Popowich
Institution: Simon Fraser University
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Abstract: We examine a class of English reflexive pronouns that we call middle-distance reflexives. We show that while not occurring in direct argument positions, middle-distance reflexives can either be syntactically bound or be interpreted according to pragmatic and discourse conditions, suggesting that syntactic reflexives in American English extend beyond direct argument positions. We will also discuss uses of reflexives in British English and Chinese in comparison with those in American English. While these languages demonstrate variations in the distribution of syntactic reflexives and discourse reflexives, the relevant facts indicate that syntactic binding in natural languages may not necessarily be obligatory, and the licensing condition for syntactic reflexives and discourse reflexives is not exclusively disjunctive. Allowing the options of both syntactic binding and discourse coreference for establishing the relation between reflexives and their antecedents is a more general aspect of reflexives, which is consistent with the view proposed in Pollard and Xue 2001.


This article appears IN Journal of Linguistics Vol. 38, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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