Automatically assigned DDC number: 415

Manually assigned DDC number: 410285

Number of references: 4

Title: When Pro-Drop Languages Don't: Overt Pronominal Subjects and Pragmatic Inference

Author:

Subject: Alexis Dimitriadis When Pro-Drop Languages Don't: Overt Pronominal Subjects and Pragmatic Inference

Description: this paper, I will try to shed light on the mechanisms underlying the interpretation of pronominal subjects in Greek; as it turns out, my empirical findings greatly resemble the properties reported by Di Eugenio (forthcoming) and Turan (1995) for Italian and Turkish, respectively. Thus I will tentatively extend my conclusions to these languages as well. I will show below that in Greek, the function of the overt pronoun aftos is to signal that its antecedent should be, not the most "prominent" potential antecedent from the previous sentence, but something somewhat less prominent. That is, that we should "skip" the most obvious candidate and move down to the next one. The overt pronoun signals this merely by its presence, not by any featural or referential information that it provides. In general, we can associate with each type of pronoun a method for selecting its antecedents. I will argue that these "methods" are not predictable through Gricean implicatures alone, hence they must be grammaticized, and specific to particular lexical items. But what exactly is a "prominent" antecedent? I am not using prominent as a technical term! In the following sections, I show that an appropriate notion of prominence is provided within the framework of Centering Theory (Grosz et al. 1986, 1995); specifically, I will argue that the type of pronominal used determines where in the list of forward looking centers its antecedent will appear: A null subject should be construed with the "compatible" antecedent that is highest in the list (where compatibility is determined by factors like featural agreement and agentivity) , while the proximal demonstrative aftos `this one' is (almost) never used to refer to the highest element in the list; it is used instead for antecedents that are lower...

Contributor: The Pennsylvania State University CiteSeer Archives

Publisher: unknown

Date: 1996-07-30

Pubyear: 1996

Format: ps

Identifier: http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/148682.html

Source: ftp://ling.upenn.edu/studentpapers/a_dimitriadis/CLSnodrop.ps

Language: en

Relation:

Relation:

Relation:

Relation:

Rights: unrestricted

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