The feature structure of pronouns: a probe into multidimensional paradigms
Guido Vanden Wyngaerd
January 2018

This paper examines multidimensional paradigms, i.e. paradigms involving more than one feature dimension. I examine the concrete case of pronominal paradigms, which involve (at least) the dimensions of person and number. The problem that arises in such paradigms is that syncretisms may be observed in each dimension, i.e. they may occur both vertically (cross-person) and horizontally (cross-number). While classical nanosyntax embodies a theory of syncretism that can account for one dimension, it requires an extension to account for syncretisms in the other dimension(s). I discuss two such extensions, one making use of pointers (Caha & Pantcheva 2012), and another in terms of a revision of the Superset Principle (based on Caha2014). I show that both approaches make subtly different empirical predictions. Most notably, the approach in terms of pointers is able to derive certain ABA-syncretisms. This consideration favors the approach in terms of the revised Superset Principle. On the other hand, the revised Superset Principle faces an empirical problem in the derivation of horizontal (cross-number) syncretism, which requires the introduction of a principle to determine a winner between candidates that are in a tie with respect to the Elsewhere Principle.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003166
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Exploring Nanosyntax (OUP volume)
keywords: nanosyntax, pronouns, aba, person, morphology, syntax
previous versions: v3 [October 2016]
v2 [July 2017]
v1 [October 2016]
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