Against non-reference-tracking theories of switch-reference

Emily Clem


Recent accounts of switch-reference have suggested that direct reference tracking is not involved. Instead, these accounts have sought to derive patterns of switch-reference from other independently attested phenomena such as control and coordination. What these diverse theories have in common is the prediction that same subject constructions should contain only one instance of a subject DP. I present evidence from Amahuaca showing that overt DP subjects can appear in both clauses in same subject constructions, contra the predictions of these non-reference-tracking theories. However, there is also evidence that Amahuaca same subject marked clauses are structurally smaller than different subject marked clauses. This size asymmetry is predicted by non-reference-tracking accounts but not by traditional direct reference-tracking theories. Thus while the Amahuaca data provide evidence against non-reference-tracking theories of switch-reference, they suggest that direct reference-tracking accounts must also be modified in order to account for the full range of data.


switch-reference; Amahuaca; same subject; control; coordination

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Copyright (c) 2018 Emily Clem

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