Beyond Identity: Topics in Pronominal and Reciprocal Anaphora


Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania


Author: Alexis Dimitriadis

Supervisors: Anthony Kroch and Maribel Romero



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This dissertation examines problems in the semantics of reciprocals and pronouns bound by non-quantificational NPs, and investigates their semantic analysis as individual-valued functions rather than as simple variables.  The main concern is the analysis of so-called “long-distance” reciprocals, in which the local antecedent of the reciprocal is a pronoun dependent on a higher antecedent:

 (i) John and Mary think they like each other.

The standard “scopal” analysis of such constructions (Heim et al. 1991a, and many others) is to let the reciprocal be bound by a distributive operator that also binds the local antecedent of the reciprocal.  It is shown here that because the binder of the reciprocal determines its range, the scopal analysis cannot account for new examples in which the local antecedent of the reciprocal is not bound by a coreferring, c-commanding antecedent.  It is argued that the correct semantics for such constructions is always determined by the local antecedent of the reciprocal.


I propose that all dependent pronouns should be translated as functions in the manner of  Engdahl (1986), and argue for an enriched representation that includes domains.  The range of a reciprocal is then obtained by applying a maximality operator to the restricted function representing its local antecedent.  This analysis always interprets reciprocals locally, eliminating the need for a “scopal” treatment.


The Variable-Free Semantics of Jacobson (1999a), which I adopt in the final chapter, is particularly well-suited to this analysis since it allows direct access to the reference function of pronouns.  It also makes possible a uniform treatment of examples involving a variety of local antecedent types, including “paycheck” pronouns and complex NPs that contain a dependent pronoun.


I discuss the interaction of the scope issue with other aspects of reciprocal semantics, including weak reciprocity, collective action, types of reciprocal relations, and exceptions (non-maximality).


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