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Distinct featural classes of anaphor in an enriched person system

Sandhya Sundaresan

This paper tackles the fundamental question of what an anaphor actually is – and
asks whether the label “anaphor” even carves out a homogenous class of element
in grammar. While most theories are in agreement that an anaphor is an element
that is referentially deficient in some way, the question of how this might be en-
coded in terms of deficiency for syntactic features remains largely unresolved. The
conventional wisdom is that anaphors lack some or more φ-features. A less main-
stream view proposes that anaphors are deficient for features that directly target
reference. Here, I present different types of empirical evidence from a range of lan-
guages to argue that neither approach gets the full range of facts quite right. The
role of PERSON, in particular, seems to be privileged. Some anaphors wear the em-
pirical properties of a PERSON-defective nominal; yet others, however, are sensitive
to PERSON-restrictions in a way that indicates that they are inherently specified for
person. Orthogonal to these are anaphors whose distribution seems to be regu-
lated, not by φ-features at all, but by perspective-sensitivity. Anaphors must, then,
not be created equal, but be distinguished along featural classes. I delineate what
this looks like against a binary feature system for person enriched with a priva-
tive [SENTIENCE] feature. The current model is shown to make accurate empirical
predictions for anaphors that are insensitive to PERSON-asymmetries for the PCC,
animacy effects for anaphoric agreement, and instances of non-matching for NUMBER and PERSON.

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