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Syntax and Semantics Seminar: Byron Ahn “How to Build “Yourself” Up: Reflexive Anaphors from the Inside-Out”

May 18 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Explorations of reflexivity have looked at how a set of reflexive anaphors distribute in larger structures (particularly in clauses), taking for granted that reflexive anaphors constitute a natural class to which the grammar can make explicit reference (e.g., with binding principles). In this talk, we will look more closely at how the internal structure of English “self-phrases” relates to their external distribution. We will conclude that self-phrases are morphosyntactically composed of (minimally) a possessive pronoun and a √SELF morpheme, and that the reflexive distribution of an expression like “herself” comes about by a nominal-internal REFL morpheme being a local relationship with the nominal D head. This means that an English-style reflexive anaphor (i.e. a “self-phrase” whose distribution is constrained by binding principles) is a derived object; as such, a reflexive anaphor is not a static [+anaphor] object in the lexicon. I will then speculate about grammatical operations involved in checking the phi-features of the pronominal component of the “self-phrase” (probably not Agree) and some intersections with semantics (types of meanings available depending on anaphoric form).


May 18
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Campbell Hall 2122