Pronominals and Empty Noun Heads: Pronominality'and licensing in syntax
PublisherUniversity of Essex
Place of publicationEssex
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This thesis deals with the internal structure of pronouns. It investigates whether pronominal and related nominal expressions in natural language can be given a unified syntactic representation. Pronominal is employed as a cover term not only for strong, weak and clitic pronouns (the tripartition from Cardinaletti & Starke, 1999)but also related elliptical nominal expressions, as well. Unlike most previous studies which have discussed the internal structure of pronominals, a central claim of this thesis is that all of them (including, crucially, pronominal clitics) have a complex structure. At the heart of this claim is a detailed and systematic refutation of the intransitive determiner analysis for pronouns (Abney, 1987), on empirical, theoretical and conceptual grounds. The pivotal concept behind the arguments here is that all pronominals involve an empty noun. The term empty noun is taken here to mean a non concept-denoting nounfor example, English 'one' and Japanese pronouns. Empty nouns can be phonologically overt or null, but in both cases they are listed in the lexicon and do not need external licensing or identification. Although the lack of denotation of empty nouns is argued to trigger pronominal reference of the nominal phrase they are in, not all instances of pronominal reference, or more neutrally pronominality, are due to the presence of an empty noun. Such cases will be shown to include null subjects in null subject languages like Spanish, Italian and Modern Greek. Finally, using the internal structure of pronouns as a sort of litmus paper the relationship between functional and lexical heads inside their Extended Projections (Grimshaw, 1991) is explored. In this context, the manner in which the notions of selection and licensing in syntax can be formulated will be discussed and a more restrictive alternative, building on Ouhalla (1991), is offered.