The Syntactic Domain of Anaphora

T. Reinhart, 1976

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This thesis deals, primarily, with the structural properties which restrict anaphora options.  It is argued that the relation "precede-and-command", which has been believed since early states of transformational grammar to capture these structural restrictions plays, in fact, no role in determining anaphora options.

The discussion introduces the notion "syntactic domain of a node a which is defined as the subtree dominated by the first branching node which dominates a.  It is argued that anaphora restrictions apply to two given NPs just in case one of these NPs is in the syntactic domain of the other.  If this is the case, the anaphora rule requires that the NP which is in the domain of the other should be a pronoun for an anaphoric relation to hold.

It is suggested, further, that the domains defined this way reflect the basic units of the processing of sentences and, consequently, that major linguistic rules are restricted to operate only within the same syntactic domains, which accounts for various correlations between anaphora options and semantic properties of sentences.

Thesis supervisor:         Noam Chomsky

Title:                             Institute Professor

Introduction                                                                                                                  6

Chapter 1         The syntactic domain for coreference of definite NP                              8

            1.1       The relation of precede and command                                       8

            1.2       The notion "syntactic domain"                                                    9

            1.3       The formulation of the restriction on anaphora                            13

            1.4       The non-relevance of precede-and-command                                        22

            1.5       The c-command domain                                                                       31

            1.6       Coreference in sentences with extraposed clauses                                  42

Footnotes                                                                                                                     49

Chapter 2         Prepositional phrases (PPs) and preposed constituents              58

            2.1       Sentential and V-phrasal PPs                                                                59

                        2.1.1    Syntactic tests                                                                           61

                        2.1.2    Some semantic differences between sentential and

                                    V-phrasal PPs                                                                          64

                        2.1.3    Coreference facts                                                                     68

            2.2       Preposed PPs                                                                                       69

                        2.2.1    The syntax of preposed PPs                                                      71

                        2.2.2    Coreference in preposed PPs                                                    75

                        2.2.3    Some aspects of the semantics of preposed PPs                        79

                        2.2.4    Further coreference mysteries                                                   85

            2.3       Topicalization and left dislocation                                                          89

            2.4       Summary                                                                                              93

Footnotes                                                                                                                     96

Chapter 3         The restriction on non-definite anaphora                                                109

            3.1       The problem                                                                                         109

            3.2       The non-relevance of "precede"                                                            115

            3.3       The restriction in terms of c-command domains                         124

Footnotes                                                                                                                     142

Chapter 4         Problems and modifications                                                                   146

            4.1       A modification of c-command                                                   147

            4.2       Dialect differences in the case of NP over NP                           149

            4.3       Domain relations inside the VP                                                  155

            4.4       "Island" restrictions on the application of anaphora rules             158

Footnotes                                                                                                                     164

Chapter 5         The linguistic significange of the c-command domain                  167

            5.1       Semantically based accounts of coreference                                          167

                        5.1.1    Functional (theme-rheme) approaches                           168

                        5.1.2    Logically based accounts                                                          175

            5.2       The minimal domain hypothesis (MDH)                                     181

                        5.2.1    The hypothesis                                                              182

                        5.2.2    Syntactic rules                                                                          185

                        5.2.3    Relative scope                                                                          190

                        5.2.4    Function-argument representations                                            196

                        5.2.5    Theme-rheme relations                                                  199

            5.3       The psychological reality of c-command domains                                   200

Footnotes                                                                                                                     206