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Linguistic Inquiry

Winter 2014, Vol. 45, No. 1, Pages 91-124.
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00149)
© 2014 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
One True Anaphor
Article PDF (864.42 KB)
Abstract

I argue that there is only one true anaphor in natural language, which takes many shapes. Building on the idea that some pronouns are constructed and others are ‘‘natural-born’’ with features, as suggested by Kratzer (2009), I suggest that all nonlocally anteceded bound variable pronouns that are traditionally bound (c-commanded) are the spell-out of a special, but universally available, dependent form, D-bound. The language-specific spell-out of D-bound in phase-internal contexts is responsible for Principle A effects, but not every language imposes phase-internal morphology for binding (thus, Principle A effects are not universal). This approach resolves morphological paradoxes that arise in ellipsis contexts when distance-bound antecedent forms behave as locally bound and vice versa. Finally, the distribution of Principle B and C effects is shown to be a consequence of the distribution of D-bound—the preferred form for anaphoric relations wherever it is available.