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AbstractAbstract: This paper contributes to recent lines of inquiry addressing the nature of indices in definite expressions. The primary language of investigation is Washo, a North American isolate spoken in the western United States. Building on previous claims about the structure of anaphoric definites, I propose a unified analysis of the Washo DP that lends novel evidence to the claim that indices are best thought of as syntactic objects in their own right, independent from D. The structurally encoded index—introduced by a head idx—is shown to be overtly realized by the morpheme gi/ge in both pronouns and demonstratives, as well as at the periphery of internally headed relative clauses, which are themselves complex DPs. An important aspect of this proposal is the argument that idx can play two related semantic roles: The semantic index it hosts can be interpreted either as a variable, as previously proposed for familiar definites, or itself as a variable binder. The availability of the latter explains the appearance of gi/ge in internally headed relatives. I show moreover that the exponence of idx in Washo is sensitive to the type of complement it takes, a proposal that makes sense of the observed distribution of gi/ge in a range of definite expressions.
CitationNatural Language & Linguistic Theory, volume 39, issue 2, page 505-554
DescriptionFrom Springer Nature via Jisc Publications Router
History: received 2019-04-14, accepted 2020-06-29, registration 2020-06-29, pub-electronic 2020-07-17, online 2020-07-17, pub-print 2021-05
Publication status: Published
Funder: Whatcom Museum; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100005998
Funder: American Philosophical Society; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100001461