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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2014, Vol. 45, No. 4, Pages 655-693
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00169)
@ 2014 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Resumptive Pronouns and Competition
Article PDF (545.6 KB)

A Minimalist hypothesis about resumptive pronouns is that they should be no different from ordinary pronouns (McCloskey 2006). The article substantiates this hypothesis with respect to a particular view of pronouns: pronouns are ‘‘elsewhere’’ elements. Just as the interpretation of ordinary pronouns, on this view, is determined by competition with anaphors, so the interpretation of resumptive pronouns is determined by competition with gaps. On the basis of new facts in Hebrew and systematic differences between optional and obligatory pronouns, I argue that the tail of a relative clause movement chain is realized as the least specified form available. Since their interpretive properties are fully determined by external factors, resumptive pronouns must be part of the syntactic derivation, not items merged from the (traditional) lexicon.