Unmatched chains and the representation of plural pronouns

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Plural pronouns create the possibility of overlapping reference, which does not not fit naturally into the classical GB theory of anaphora, where each NP has a single integer as its referential index. Thus, one must either complicate the indexing system used in syntax or complicate the semantic interpretation of indices. This paper argues for the former approach based on the properties of a particular comitative-like construction found in Mohawk and certain other languages. This construction is analyzed as a type of Left Dislocation where the dislocated NP forms a syntactic chain with a pronoun that it overlaps in reference with. Several unusual characteristics of such chains can be accounted for if plural pronouns have sets of integers as their indices—characteristics involving bound anaphora, ellipsis interpretation, and connectivity effects. Certain implications for the theory of chains are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-73
Number of pages41
JournalNatural Language Semantics: An International Journal of Semantics and Its Interfaces in Grammar
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1992
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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