Anaphors and the Missing Link

Michaël Gagnon

Three types of nominal anaphors are investigated: (i) pronouns, (ii) partitive ellipsis and (iii) the contrastive anaphor 'one'. I argue that in each case, the representational basis for anaphora is the same, a semantic variable ranging over singular or plural entities, rather than syntactic as previous approaches have suggested. In the case of pronouns, I argue against syntactic D-type approaches (Elbourne 2005) and semantic D-type approaches (Cooper 1979). Instead, I present arguments in favor of the set variable representation assumed under Nouwen (2003)’s approach. Following this, I consider a number of cases usually taken to involve the elision of a noun phrase, and argue that instead they involve the deletion of a partitive phrase containing an anaphoric plural pronoun. Third, I turn to the contrastive anaphor ‘one’ and its null counterpart in French. Here again, I argue that the basis for anaphora is a semantic set variable, where this anaphor differs from pronouns in being of category N rather than D, and in having a pragmatic requirement for contrast. This analysis differs from previous ones which hold that this expression is a syntactic substitute of category N′, or the spell-out of the head of a number phrase followed by ellipsis of a noun phrase. Finally, I discuss the phenomenon of event anaphora. Given the phenomenon’s interaction with the anaphors discussed prior in this dissertation, I argue that it is better seen as a case of deferred reference to an event on the basis of anaphoric reference to a discourse segment, following Webber (1991). This contrasts with what I call metaphysical approaches, which hold that the anaphor directly resumes an event introduced to the context by a previous clause (Asher 1993; Moltmann 1997).