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On the syntax and semantics of resumptive pronouns

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Abstract

The paper presents an analysis of the contribution of resumptive pronouns to the structure and interpretation of relative clauses in Hebrew. Traditionally, resumptive pronouns have been treated as overt phonological realizations of gaps, since it was believed that the interpretation of relative clauses with optional resumptive pronouns is unaffected by whether or not they include the pronoun. Yet the paper shows that the presence of a resumptive pronoun modifies the interpretation of a relative clause. The antecedent of the resumptive pronoun must be interpreted as having wider scope than any other noun phrase within the relative clause. Thus a resumptive pronoun, but not a gap, blocks the raising of quantifiers from within the relative clause, and the de-re interpretation of noun phrases in the clause. This is accounted for by treating resumptive pronouns as pronouns, and interpreting them as resumptive only in clauses which do not contain gaps.

References

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