An LFG analysis of pronominal binding in Mandarin Chinese

Hongyuan Dong


Pronominal binding in Mandarin Chinese can be affected by different embedding verbs. For example, verbs like gǎnxiè ('to thank') impose a negative constraint that requires the embedded subject pronoun not to be bound by the matrix subject DP. On the other hand verbs like zhīdào ('to know') do not have such a requirement, thus conforming to the Binding Principle B. Importantly, binding relations of pronouns in sentences with verbs like gǎnxiè ('to thank') cannot be accounted for within the framework of the standard Binding Theory. It cannot be explained by the control theory that involves PRO, either, although there is indeed some similarity between such negative constraints and control structures. Therefore I propose to add a negative constraint in the lexical entries of such verbs, based on how control is handled in LFG. This proposal has both theoretical and application advantages.


binding principles; pronominal binding; pronouns; control theory; LFG; Chinese

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