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Reciprocals

(1,723 words)

Author(s): Joost Kremers
Reciprocals are expressions that indicate that the subject of the verb is at the same time the object. Unlike reflexives, however, which have a similar function, reciprocals introduce a distributing element into the meaning. While a reflexive can be applied to a singular subject (x hits x), a reciprocal requires a plural subject, because it expresses the notion that the various members of the subject each perform the action described by the verb not on themselves, but on one or more of the other members of the subject: ‘x and y hit each other’ means ‘x hits y and y hits x’. Heim a.o. (1991) argu…
Date: 2018-04-01

Reflexives

(2,504 words)

Author(s): Joost Kremers
In a sentence such as John sees himself, the subject and the object of the verb are one and the same person, namely John. Crucially, languages generally do not allow such a meaning to be expressed with something like John sees John, or John sees him. Most, if not all, languages require a special pronominal form for the object. This form is generally called a ‘reflexive’. In other words, a reflexive is a pronominal form that indicates that two arguments of a verb have the same referent. The syntactic expression with which the reflexive is coreferential is called the antecedent of the reflexive. Re…
Date: 2018-04-01

Minimalism

(4,008 words)

Author(s): Joost Kremers
1. The minimalist framework Minimalism is the name of the predominant approach in generative linguistics today. It was first introduced by Chomsky in his work The minimalist program (1995) and has undergone several developments and changes since. The central idea of minimalism is that a linguistic theory should contain as few nonderived assumptions as possible. Many notions that had been developed in earlier generative theory, in particular the Government and Binding theory (GB), have been abandoned in an attempt to derive them from more basic concepts. In Chomsky's (1995) view, …
Date: 2018-04-01