Testing accessibility: A cross-linguistic comparison of the syntax of referring expressions

Jacopo Torregrossa, Christiane Bongartz, Ianthi Maria Tsimpli


Focusing on the discourse conditions that license the use of null subjects (pro) in Greek and Italian, this paper shows that the distribution of referring expressions (RE, e.g., overt and null pronoun, clitic, definite description, etc.) does not only depend on the referents’ discourse status (alias accessibility). Syntactic constraints play an important role too.

Full Text:



Ariel, Mira. 1990. Accessing noun-phrase antecedents. London: Routledge.

Arnold, Jennifer. 2010. How speakers refer: The role of accessibility. Language and Linguistic Compass 4:4. 187-203.

Christodoulou, Christiana. 2007. Anaphoric relations with Greek pronouns. Proceedings of the North West Linguistics Conference. Victoria B.C.

Frascarelli, Mara. 2007. Subjects, topics and the interpretation of referential pro: An interface approach to the linking of (null) pronouns. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 25:4. 691-734.

Haegeman, Liliane. 2013. The syntax of registers: Diary object omission and the privilege of the root. Lingua 130. 88-110.

Roussou, Anna & Ianthi Maria Tsimpli. 2006. On Greek VSO again!. Journal of Linguistics 42. 317-354.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/exabs.v0i0.3046