Blocking effects and non-clause bound reflexives in Mandarin and American English
A sub-set of languages with non-clause bound (NCB) reflexives exhibits Blocking effects. In these languages, a NCB reflexive is “blocked” from corefering with a higher subject when a lower subject does not agree with a higher subject for person. Accounting for Blocking effects has been challenging. Recently, researchers have posited a functional head that encodes point of view or sentience (e.g. Huang & Liu 2001; Tenny 2006; Chou 2012). However, these analyses do not account for all available data. Here, I offer a small modification to the most recent analysis of this type that accounts for available data by conforming to Chomsky’s cyclic transfer system (2007, 2008). I also provide exploratory data that suggests that (i) NCB reflexives exist in American English and (ii) they unexpectedly exhibit Blocking effects. Finally, I illustrate that the modified analysis for Mandarin also accounts for the distribution of NCB reflexives in American English.
Keywords: non-clause bound reflexives, functional head, American English, Blocking effects
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Published online: 21 September 2015
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