Pronouns in a Minimalist Setting

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This chapter examines the theoretical status of pronouns and principle B of the Binding Theory within the Minimalist Program, once it is assumed that reflexives should be formed by movement/copying. If reflexive structures are to be ultimately analyzed in terms of movement/copying, Principle A should be dispensed with. The question then is how to reanalyze Principle B, given that it imposes the opposite requirements of Principle A. The paper argues in favour of returning to the earliest approaches to pronominalization phenomena by Lees and Klima (1963), recast in a more contemporary setting in terms of derivational economy. More specifically, it is proposed that the complementarity between reflexives and bound pronouns follows if derivations that resort to movement (understood in terms of copying) are more economical than derivations that resort to pronoun use. Under this view, pronouns are last resort items used when more favourable (“economical”) grammatical options cannot be.


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