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The dual status of middle-distance reflexives

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 April 2002

PING XUE
Affiliation:
Boeing Phantom Works
FRED POPOWICH
Affiliation:
Simon Fraser University

Abstract

We examine a class of English reflexive pronouns that we call middle-distance reflexives. We show that while not occurring in direct argument positions, middle-distance reflexives can either be syntactically bound or be interpreted according to pragmatic and discourse conditions, suggesting that syntactic reflexives in American English extend beyond direct argument positions. We will also discuss uses of reflexives in British English and Chinese in comparison with those in American English. While these languages demonstrate variations in the distribution of syntactic reflexives and discourse reflexives, the relevant facts indicate that syntactic binding in natural languages may not necessarily be obligatory, and the licensing condition for syntactic reflexives and discourse reflexives is not exclusively disjunctive. Allowing the options of both syntactic binding and discourse coreference for establishing the relation between reflexives and their antecedents is a more general aspect of reflexives, which is consistent with the view proposed in Pollard & Xue 2001.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

We would like to thank the anonymous Journal of Linguistics referees for valuable comments and suggestions.