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Linguistic Inquiry

Summer 2002, Vol. 33, No. 3, Pages 409-442
(doi: 10.1162/002438902760168554)
© 2002 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Decomposing Pronouns
Article PDF (296.9 KB)
Abstract

Starting with the idea that the notion “pronoun” is not a primitive of linguistic theory, we propose that it is necessary to recognize (at least) three pronoun types: pro-DP, pro-ΦP, and pro-NP. Evidence supporting this three-way split comes from the sensitivity of certain proforms to the predicate/argument distinction, the internal structure of proforms, and the binding-theoretic properties of proforms. Recognizing different pronoun types also sheds light on the formal (dis)similarities between obviation and switch-reference.