Distinct featural classes of anaphor in an enriched person system
Sandhya Sundaresan
April 2018

Given the wealth of literature on anaphora within the generative tradition, it is surprising, if not downright odd, that the question of what an anaphor formally is, still remains very much unresolved. This paper seeks to tackle this problem head on and find a fruitful resolution for it. Two main schools of thought can be discerned: one holds that anaphors are defined as being deficient for phi-features; the other, that they are deficient for some non-phi feature, F. The main source of the problem, I argue, is that there are strong theoretical and empirical arguments for both views on anaphora. Morphological underspecification, phi-matching effects, and the Anaphor Agreement Effect (AAE) provide evidence supporting a phi-deficiency approach. Perspectival anaphora, and deep-rooted anaphoric sensitivity to person-hierarchy effects reflected in PCC effects, agreement, and a seldom noticed typological gap for person in anaphoric antecedence (but see Comrie 1999), argue in favor of the other view. The upshot of all this, is that we have two mutually inconsistent but valid views on anaphora. There is no single anaphor that can satisfy the criteria for both at the same time. I thus propose that anaphors in natural language be categorized into distinct featural classes and delineate what this looks like against a binary feature system for person, enriched with a privative animacy feature. The current model is shown to make accurate empirical predictions with respect with respect to anaphors that are insensitive to person-asymmetry effects for the PCC, to animacy effects for anaphoric agreement, and to a special case of non-ϕ-matching between the anaphor and its binder. (New version: much more compact and has some new data with respect to the 1/2 vs. 3 antecedence gap).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003651
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Volume on agreement to be published in Open Generative Syntax Series, Language Science Press
keywords: anaphor (classes, universals), person (categories, asymmetries), feature (underspecification, valuation, exponence), agree(ment), phi, reference, pcc, perspective, syntax, semantics, morphology
previous versions: v2 [September 2017]
v1 [September 2017]
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