The Secret Life of Pronouns

Liudmila Nikolaeva, 2014

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This thesis explores the relationship between anaphora and movement on a wide array of data primarily from Russian. I argue that anaphors and pronominals are underlyingly the same syntactic entity, an index, whereas conditions A and B of binding theory should be substituted by principles regulating the spell-out of an anaphoric element as a reflexive or a pronominal.

Through cyclic covert movement of an index, accompanied by cyclic evaluation of its phonological form, I account for the constraints against backward anaphora, or cataphora, found in Russian, as well as subject-orientation of anaphors and anti-subject orientation of the pronominals. The proposal derives the systematic complementarity of distribution of anaphors and pronominals in some contexts, as well as systematic lack thereof in others.

Finally, I explore the interaction of anaphora with overt movement, scrambling in particular. I conclude that reconstruction effects correlate with case assignment in the way predicted by Wholesale Late Merger theory. Using this conclusion, I provide an argument in favor of existence of Determiners in Russian.