LINGUIST List 24.1283

Thu Mar 14 2013

Diss: Discourse Analysis/Morphology/Pragmatics/Semantics/Syntax: Sundaresan: 'Context and (Co)reference in the Syntax and its Interfaces'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <>

Date: 14-Mar-2013
From: Sandhya Sundaresan <>
Subject: Context and (Co)reference in the Syntax and its Interfaces
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Institution: University of Tromsø Program: Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Linguistics Dissertation Status: Completed Degree Date: 2012

Author: Sandhya Sundaresan

Dissertation Title: Context and (Co)reference in the Syntax and its Interfaces

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis                             Morphology                             Pragmatics                             Semantics                             Syntax
Dissertation Director:
Artemis Alexiadou Gillian Catriona Ramchand
Dissertation Abstract:

It is well known that referentially defective nominals fall into two broad categories:pro-forms whose reference seems structurally constrained (local anaphors, OCPRO) and those which are discourse-pragmatically conditioned (logophors,deictic pronouns, indexicals). Nevertheless, a strict binary distinction cannot bemaintained because most actually straddle the syntax-discourse divide: e.g.deictic pronouns can be variable-bound, indexicals may be “shifted” undercertain intensional operators, and logophors and long-distance anaphors oftenlook and behave alike. The central thesis of this dissertation is that a propersubset of pro- forms can receive a unified analysis under an enrichedgrammatical model that posits the syntactic representation of mental and/orspatio-temporal perspective. To this end, I present novel evidence from verbalagreement triggered under anaphora to show that even so-called “logophoric”reference involves an indelible syntactic core. I propose that perspective isfeaturally represented on a silent pronominal operator in the specifier of aPerspectival phrase (PerspP) at the phasal-edge of certain CPs, PPs, DPs, andAspPs and may be exploited to yield a unified account of anaphora andagreement patterns triggered under it. Anaphora involves two distinctdependencies: an Agree relationship between the anaphor and the operator in the[Spec, PerspP] of its minimal phase, which is the equivalent of syntactic binding,and a conceptual relationship between the antecedent and this operator, which isthe equivalent of non-obligatory control. Thus, all binding is local and syntactic; allantecedence is non-local and (primarily) non-syntactic. I also illustrate thatperspective must be kept conceptually and structurally distinct from theKaplanian utterance context and the intensional “context” responsible forindexical shift. The main language of investigation is the Dravidian languageTamil but crosslinguistic comparisons are made with: Abe, Aghem, Amharic,Czech, Donna SO, Dutch (standard and Brabant), English, French, German,Greek, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Malayalam, Mupun,Navajo, North Sami, Norwegian, Romanian, Russian, Slave, Swahili, Telugu,Uyghur, Zapotec and Zazaki. The Tamil judgments are bolstered by the resultsof an online survey conducted among 38 native speakers around the world.

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