Covert reflexive argument in inalienable relational nouns

Alan Hezao Ke, Acrisio Pires

Abstract


This paper argues that inalienable relational nouns in Mandarin Chinese, specifically kinship nouns (e.g. father, sister) and body-part nouns (e.g. head, face), have an implicit reflexive argument. Based on a syntactic comparison between kinship nouns, body-part nouns, and locally and long-distance bound reflexives, we argue that the implicit reflexive arguments of kinship nouns and body-part nouns differ from each other: The implicit argument of body-part nouns must be locally bound, whereas that of kinship nouns can either be locally bound or long-distance bound. Therefore, we conclude that these two types of implicit arguments in Mandarin Chinese correspond to locally and long-distance bound reflexives, respectively. Finally, we relate this difference to binding theory and the theory of logophoricity.

Keywords


relational nouns; body-part nouns; kinship nouns; inalienable possession; implicit argument; reflexive; logophor

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v3i1.4334

Copyright (c) 2018 Alan Hezao Ke, Acrisio Pires

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