Cross-Germanic variation in binding Condition B

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This paper offers explanations for apparent variation in the effects of Binding Condition B across English, Dutch, Frisian, Norwegian, Danish, and Icelandic. Three very different factors that influence binding possibilities for pronouns across these languages are identified: language-specific morphosyntactic features such as Case and agreement, an independent constraint blocking subject orientation of pronouns, and phonological properties of minimal binding domains. I argue that a binding theory that applies in narrow syntax (rather than at LF, say) is well placed to account for the observed variation, and offer a unified explanation for various hitherto unrelated empirical facts. With an approach that subsumes the effects of Condition B under more general syntactic principles, an appealing view of the variation emerges: the condition itself exhibits quite remarkable consistency across the languages examined, with different pronouns varying in their sensitivity to Condition B effects according to their individual morphosyntactic properties.


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