Anaphoric Dependencies in Vietnamese

Author: Quy Ngoc Thi Doan
LOT Number: 623
ISBN: 978-94-6093-410-0
Pages: 329
Year: 2022
1st promotor: Prof. dr. M.B.H Everaert
2nd promotor: Prof. dr. E.J. Reuland
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The aim of this dissertation is to provide a detailed analysis of anaphoric dependencies in Vietnamese, with right from the start, a focus on theoretical puzzles and phenomena that contribute to our understanding of this particular language and of language in general.

To achieve this goal, I investigated  the inventory of anaphoric expressions, the expression of reflexivity, the syntactic representation of non-local anaphoric dependencies and the restrictions these dependencies are subject to.

Prima facie the binding patterns in Vietnamese look rather different from the patterns in well-known languages like English. In addition to pronominal elements and an anaphoric element mình, also proper names and common noun expressions such as kinship terms and status terms show pronominal characteristics. Honorificity features appear to play a much more significant role in the language. While mình can be non-locally bound, for coargument binding it requires the element tự, just like other pronoun-type elements, reflecting the cross-linguistic pattern that reflexivity must be licensed.  In addition, mình can virtually always be interpreted as the speaker in the absence of an overt 1st person antecedent. Non-local binding of mình is subject to a blocking effect that at first sight may seem similar to the blocking effect in Mandarin Chinese but is rather different in detail. With all the similarities and differences the Vietnamese anaphoric system possesses in comparison to other languages, I show that it can be unified into the world of anaphors/reflexives and successfully accounted for by a Multiple-Agree based approach to anaphor binding as elaborated in this dissertation. 

The aim of this dissertation is to provide a detailed analysis of anaphoric dependencies in Vietnamese, with right from the start, a focus on theoretical puzzles and phenomena that contribute to our understanding of this particular language and of language in general.

To achieve this goal, I investigated  the inventory of anaphoric expressions, the expression of reflexivity, the syntactic representation of non-local anaphoric dependencies and the restrictions these dependencies are subject to.

Prima facie the binding patterns in Vietnamese look rather different from the patterns in well-known languages like English. In addition to pronominal elements and an anaphoric element mình, also proper names and common noun expressions such as kinship terms and status terms show pronominal characteristics. Honorificity features appear to play a much more significant role in the language. While mình can be non-locally bound, for coargument binding it requires the element tự, just like other pronoun-type elements, reflecting the cross-linguistic pattern that reflexivity must be licensed.  In addition, mình can virtually always be interpreted as the speaker in the absence of an overt 1st person antecedent. Non-local binding of mình is subject to a blocking effect that at first sight may seem similar to the blocking effect in Mandarin Chinese but is rather different in detail. With all the similarities and differences the Vietnamese anaphoric system possesses in comparison to other languages, I show that it can be unified into the world of anaphors/reflexives and successfully accounted for by a Multiple-Agree based approach to anaphor binding as elaborated in this dissertation. 

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