Natural Language Semantics 28 (1):23-76 (2020)

Abstract
Approaches to anaphora generally seek to explain the potential for a DP to covary with a pronoun in terms of a combination of factors, such as the inherent semantics of the antecedent DP, its scope properties, and its structural position. A case in point is Reinhart’s classic condition on bound anaphora, paraphrasable as A DP can antecede a pronoun pro only if the DP c-commands pro at S-structure, supplemented with some extra machinery to allow indefinites to covary with pronouns beyond their c-command domains. In the present paper, I explore a different take. I propose that anaphora is governed not by DPs and their properties; it is governed by predicates and their properties. To use a metaphor from dynamic semantics: discourse referents can only be ‘activated’ by predicates, never by DPs. This conceptually simple assumption is shown to have far-reaching consequences. For one, it yields a new take on weak crossover, arguably worthy of consideration. Moreover, it leads to a further general “restatement of the anaphora question”, in Reinhart’s words.
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DOI 10.1007/s11050-019-09158-3
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