The Discourse Semantics of Long-Distance Reflexives
Per Erik Solberg
November 2017

This dissertation presents a semantic analysis of long-distance reflexives (LDRs), reflexive pronouns with antecedents outside of their minimal clause. The study is based on Latin data, but in also includes cross-linguistic considerations. The analyses are framed in Partial Compositional Discourse Representation Theory (Haug 2013). Latin LDRs are frequent in indirect discourse in Latin as well as in other languages, and they refer to the author of the indirect discourse. Given this pattern, an analysis based on the modal semantics of indirect discourse easily comes to mind. However, LDRs are also attested in non-reported environments, which are often treated in terms of perspective shift. To capture the different uses, I argue that LDRs are anaphors with a presuppositional restriction to shifted perspective holders. Perspective shift is analyzed using events and thematic roles. This approach to perspective shift correctly captures the antecedents of LDRs in indirect discourse, but it can also account for other uses of LDRs. When indirect discourse containing an LDR is embedded within indirect discourse, the LDR becomes ambiguous. By modeling LDR binding as anaphora, this ambiguity is immediately captured, without having to resort to covert structural differences. Latin LDRs are widely attested in so-called unembedded indirect discourse (UID; Bary and Maier 2014), multi-sentence stretches of indirect discourse. In such cases, the LDR is often several sentences away from its antecedent. I show how UID can be analyzed in terms of event anaphora. When paired with the event-semantics of perspective shift, it is possible to capture the discourse antecedents of LDRs in UID. Finally, I discuss the antecedents of Latin LDRs in indirect discourse conveyed by a messenger, which have previously been seen as problematic. I present a new corpus study of such cases and show how they can be explained.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003745
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Dissertation, University of Oslo
keywords: latin, long-distance reflexives, anaphors, anaphora, drt, indirect discourse, attitude reports, logophoricity, perspective shift, semantics
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