Skip to main content

A cross-linguistic account of reflexivity using synchronous tree adjoining grammar

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
This thesis examines the different ways in which reflexive relations are expressed across languages. Using the reflexive typology of Déchaine and Wiltschko (2002) as a starting point, case-studies of four languages are presented: English, Korean, Shona, and Plains Cree. These linguistic case-studies rely on a broad spectrum of data collection methods, including corpus research, psycholinguistic experimentation, and field-elicitation. Through these diverse methodologies, a sound empirical basis for the conclusions of the thesis is constructed, showing how the different methods can be combined to complement each other in the formulation of linguistic theory. Then, the data are treated in terms of Synchronous Tree Adjoining Grammar (STAG), showing that the STAG formalism is not only robust enough to handle a diverse selection of languages, but also showing how the various forms of reflexive expression can be formalised. Specifically, with English, reflexives are treated as functions which take predicates as arguments, establishing an explicit co-reference be- tween the arguments of the predicate. In STAG, it emerges that the familiar c-command relationship between a reflexive pronoun and its antecedent is a consequence of the analy- sis, rather than a stipulated constraint. Korean and Shona reflexivity is expressed in terms of Bound Variable Anaphora; the STAG implementation for these languages shows how parametric variation between languages in terms of binding restrictions (local, anti- local, or unconstrained) can be expressed in terms of a constraint on the derivation of sentences containing bound variables. Plains Cree, while having the simplest syntax in that its reflex- ives are intransitives, emerges to be the biggest challenge for STAG, exposing the need for further work in defining the STAG formalism at a finer syntactic and semantic level than present implementations allow.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author.
The author granted permission for the file to be printed and for the text to be copied and pasted.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Han, Chung-hye
Member of collection
Download file Size
etd6069_DStoroshenko.pdf 2 MB

Views & downloads - as of June 2023

Views: 9
Downloads: 1