Non-possessive person in the nominal domain
Georg Höhn
July 2017

This thesis provides an investigation of non-possessive nominal person from a crosslinguistic perspective, i.e. variation in the way that the grammatical person of nominal expressions is marked across languages. The most prominent construction of this type are adnominal pronoun constructions (APCs) of the we linguists type. The first part of the thesis provides a survey of expressions of nominal person in a sample of 92 languages from 44 genera, to my knowledge the first larger scale overview of its kind. I review the observable crosslinguistic variation with respect to word order, the presence or absence of definite articles, the possibility of the co-occurrence of demonstratives with pronouns and with respect to restrictions on person-number combinations in expressions of nominal person. The second part examines the applicability of the classical pronominal determiner analysis (Abney 1987, Postal 1969) to the data collected in the survey, in particular with respect to word order, the co-occurrence of adnominal pronouns with articles and the person-number restrictions on expressions of nominal person. I discuss alternatives and amendments to the pronominal determiner analysis for problematic data, one important outcome being that nominal person is not universally encoded in the same position as definiteness. In the third part, I review the so-called unagreement phenomenon as a case of non-overt nominal person marking and discuss the interaction of person with other deictic features in the nominal domain: the possibility of demonstrative constructions to control non-third person agreement in a few languages as well as personal pronoun-demonstrative constructions (PPDCs) involving demonstratives co-occurring with personal pronouns in some languages. The existence of the latter constructions suggests that person is not universally encoded in the same syntactic position as demonstratives. The overall picture emerging is that there is crosslinguistic variation in the locus of person in the extended nominal projection and the types of features that are encoded on the same head as person, although there appears to be a universal tendency for person to be in a relatively high position.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003618
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: University of Cambridge
keywords: person, nominal structure, adnominal pronouns, pronominal determiner, unagreement, demonstratives, morphology, syntax
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