A Movement Account of Long-Distance Reflexives

Rebecca McKeown

This thesis examines reflexive pronouns, such as Icelandic sig (Cf. Thráinsson 2007), which may be bound from outside of an infinitive clause (which I call MD “medium distance” binding) in addition to being bound locally. I propose that such reflexives are linked to their antecedents via sisterhood followed by movement: the reflexive and antecedent are first merged together as sisters, and the antecedent subsequently moves to receive its first theta-role, as schematized below:

  1. He ordered Harold to shave he+sig

This links the properties of bound simplex reflexives to the properties of movement. I argue that reflexives such as sig must be bound within the first finite clause because finite CP is a spell-out domain and its escape hatch is inaccessible to A-movement. Furthermore, I derive the subject-orientation of sig and other simplex reflexives from merge-over-move, combined with a numeration divided into phases including vP. Since the antecedent is moving into its first theta-role, and merge is preferable to move, the antecedent will end up in the highest position in the phase: that is, the subject.

I then examine long-distance (LD) uses of sig as well as Chinese ziji, Japanese zibun, and Kannada tannu. I propose that in such cases the reflexive still has a double, which is not the antecedent but a null element, possibly an operator. It undergoes A’ movement to a position in the left periphery of a finite clause, associated with point-of- view (with a divided left periphery as in Speas 2004)—and this operator is in turn associated with an antecedent either outside the finite clause, or outside the sentence entirely. This accounts for the observation that LD reflexives often must refer to POV holders (Sells 1987). Evidence for LD reflexives being mediated by an A’ position comes from the interaction of binding with wh-movement in Kannada (Lidz 2008), and is one way of describing where blocking effects do and do not occur in Chinese (Anand 2006). Furthermore, in Japanese there are sometimes overt morphemes, potentially left- periphery heads, that indicate POV and can co-occur with the use of LD reflexives (Nishigauchi 2005, 2010).