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A comparative perspective on intensive reflexives

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Position variability is one of the defining properties of intensive reflexives (IRs). This distributional pattern often leads to isomorphic, even polysemous treatments. This paper presents a unified account of IRs based on the examination of IRs in English and Hebrew. The proposed analysis establishes a single core function for the expression, the establishment of comparison. This core function involves a set of relations (inclusion, exclusion and scalarity) that bear the status of conversational implicatures in this construction. It is argued that the choice of IR position marks scope differences and signals variations in information structure. Despite various morpho-syntactic differences between the languages, the proposed analysis is shown to account for the function of IRs in English and Hebrew alike.

  • Affiliations: 1: Universit√© Paris 8

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