Binding Theory and Pronominal Anaphora in Brazilian Portuguese

Author: Sergio Menuzzi
LOT Number: 030
ISBN: 90-5569-112-7
Pages: 410
Year: 1999
€39.00
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This book is concerned with the proper formulation of Binding Theory. It seeks to contribute to the idea that there is no module of Universal Grammar which refers to the primitive notion of “binding”; rather, anaphoric dependencies are grammatically constrained because they occasionally overlap with other linguistic objects which are primitively constrained by grammar. Following Reinhart & Reuland, this book argues that, among these objects, we find reflexive predicates and chains. Unlike Reinhart & Reuland’s original proposals, however, the framework developed in this book assumes that constraints on anaphoric dependencies are violable, as in Optimality Theory. This assumption plays a particular important role in explaining the way anaphoric dependencies are affected by Chain Theory. It is shown, for example, that constraint violability often allows the selection of anaphors versus pronouns to be determined on the basis of the morphosyntactic content of anaphors and pronominals – that is, their specification for number, gender, and so on. Hence, the binding classification of NPs into “anaphors” and “pronominals” can be dispensed with. Similarly, constraint coilability allows crosslinguisitc variation to be derived from the differences in the morphosyntactic specification of forms, rather than from “extrinsic” sources of variation like domain parameters or constraint ranking. Though the investigation pays particular attention to exotic patterns of NP anaphora found in Brazilian Portuguese, the range of phenomena studied is much broader: it includes binding into PPs, the so-called “logophoric” use of reflexives in English, and the long-distance binding of anaphors in languages like Dutch, Icelandic, and Russian, for example.

 

This book is of interest to generative syntacticians, especially those working on Binding Theory and on constraint violability in syntax, and to linguists working on intrasentential NP anaphora.

This book is concerned with the proper formulation of Binding Theory. It seeks to contribute to the idea that there is no module of Universal Grammar which refers to the primitive notion of “binding”; rather, anaphoric dependencies are grammatically constrained because they occasionally overlap with other linguistic objects which are primitively constrained by grammar. Following Reinhart & Reuland, this book argues that, among these objects, we find reflexive predicates and chains. Unlike Reinhart & Reuland’s original proposals, however, the framework developed in this book assumes that constraints on anaphoric dependencies are violable, as in Optimality Theory. This assumption plays a particular important role in explaining the way anaphoric dependencies are affected by Chain Theory. It is shown, for example, that constraint violability often allows the selection of anaphors versus pronouns to be determined on the basis of the morphosyntactic content of anaphors and pronominals – that is, their specification for number, gender, and so on. Hence, the binding classification of NPs into “anaphors” and “pronominals” can be dispensed with. Similarly, constraint coilability allows crosslinguisitc variation to be derived from the differences in the morphosyntactic specification of forms, rather than from “extrinsic” sources of variation like domain parameters or constraint ranking. Though the investigation pays particular attention to exotic patterns of NP anaphora found in Brazilian Portuguese, the range of phenomena studied is much broader: it includes binding into PPs, the so-called “logophoric” use of reflexives in English, and the long-distance binding of anaphors in languages like Dutch, Icelandic, and Russian, for example.

 

This book is of interest to generative syntacticians, especially those working on Binding Theory and on constraint violability in syntax, and to linguists working on intrasentential NP anaphora.

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