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INDEFINITENESS AND ANAPHORICITY Peter Cole University ofIllinois Grammarians working within the framework of semantically-based grammar have argued that syntactic representations are not arbitrary, but rather have their basis in semantics. In this paper it is further proposed that syntactic processes (rules and constraints) may have a semantic basis. Evidence is presented that the constraint against backward pronominalization with indefinite antecedents, which is found in a wide variety of languages, derives from the semantic properties of various classes of definite noun phrases.* One ofthe most interesting claims ofgrammarians working within the framework of semantically-based generative grammar is that syntactic representations are not arbitrary, but rather have their basis in semantics. This is stated explicitly by Lakoff 1972, where he argues that, just as the units used in phonology should have an independent basis in phonetics, so the units used in syntax should have an independent basis in semantics. If the analogy between phonology and syntax is valid, it should be of interest to syntacticians that phonetic naturalness conditions apply not only to phonological representations, but also to phonological processes, i.e. to phonological rules and constraints. E.g., a rule inserting a a to break up three-consonant clusters, formed as the result ofa morphological process, is a natural rule because ofthe articulatory difficulty presented by these clusters. A morpheme-structure constraint against such clusters within a morpheme is natural for the same reason. If syntax bears the same relationship to semantics as phonology does to phonetics, one would expect to find that there are syntactic rules and constraints which have a semantic basis. In this paper I shall show the semantic basis of the Backward Pronominalization Constraint (BPC), which restricts backward pronominalization with indefinite antecedents. For many speakers, backward pronominalization is ungrammatical in 1 but not in 2: (1) a. Every IiOn1 will attack when It1 is cornered. b.*When It1 is cornered, every IiOn1 will attack. c.Each boyi answers when 1Ie1 is called on. d.*When 1Ie1 is called on, each boyj answers. e.WhO1 was searched when het crossed the border? f.*When he¡ crossed the border, whoj was searched? * The material discussed in this paper is treated in greater depth in my dissertation (Cole 1973). Thanks are due a number of people who helped me clarify my thoughts on the topics discussed here, and especially to Jerry Morgan and Georgia Green for their perceptive comments on various versions of the material. Special thanks are also due my informants for their patient assistance: James Awoyale, Jean Casagrande, Ching Hsiang Chen, Jürgen Döllein, Riña Gal-Shapira, Reynaldo Jimenez, Hans H. Hock, Chin-W. Kim, Vered Nachson, Mario Saltarelli, Han Sohn, Dieter Wanner, Avraham Ziv, and Yael Ziv. This paper was presented at the 1973 Summer Meeting of the LSA. 665 666LANGUAGE, VOLUME 50, NUMBER 4 (1974) (2)a. When he4 saw the ring, the gollum'Si heart beat rapidly. b.That hei would recover Ws1 kingdom was the ranger^ hope. c.When 1Ie1 looked down from the window, ToHi1 became dizzy. d.That 1Ie1 was arrested for possession of over a kilo of grated banana peel did not surprise Harold Thompson!, President of Eastern Alaska State University. This pattern is not limited to English, as is shown by similar sentences from other languages:1 Mandarin (3)Mëige gänqinjiä {dang ta¡) tan qín de shihou xlhuan chànggë. every pianist at he play piano RM time like sing 'Every pianist,, when hei plays the piano, likes to sing.' (4)Mëige xuéshengi chifan de shihou {tâmen)i dôubu shuôhuà. every student eat rice RM time they whenever not talk 'When every student, eats a meal, hei doesn't talk.' (5)*7Si lai de shihou mëige xuéshengi nazhe {ta) zijï de shü. he come RM time every student hold he self PM book *'When hei came, every studenti was holding his book.' (6)*Ta\ dang mëige gänqinjiäi tan qín de shihou dôuchànggë. he at every pianist play piano RM time whenever sing ""He1, when every pianist plays the piano, sings.' (7)*751 tàitai si le ylhöu shïde...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 665-674
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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