Covert reflexive argument in inalienable relational nouns


  • Alan Hezao Ke University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Acrisio Pires University of Michigan, Ann Arbor



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


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.




How to Cite

Ke, Alan Hezao, and Acrisio Pires. 2018. “Covert Reflexive Argument in Inalienable Relational Nouns”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 3 (1): 43:1–15.