Original Paper

Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 1-43

First online:

Cross-linguistic variation in anaphoric dependencies: evidence from the Pacific Northwest

  • Henry DavisAffiliated withDepartment of Linguistics, The University of British Columbia, Totem Field Studios Email author 

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Several languages of northwestern North America systematically fail to show obviation (“Condition C”) effects in contexts where an R-expression is c-commanded by a covalued pronoun. This paper examines Condition C-defying dependencies in one such language, St’át’imcets (Lillooet Salish). It is shown here that Condition C violations in St’át’imcets are not confined to coreference anaphora, since they may involve sloppy identity; however they are limited to cases where the dependency (a) does not contain a quantificational expression and (b) crosses a clause boundary. Employing a version of linking theory, this paper argues that Condition C-defying dependencies are “upside-down”—rather than involving a name unexpectedly depending on a c-commanding pronoun, they involve a dependent pronoun c-commanding an antecedent name. In order to account for this possibility, a parametrized version of the Independence Principle (Safir 2004b) is invoked, whose domain in St’át’imcets is restricted to the minimal clause. The facts here provide a direct challenge to the Universalist Hypothesis on anaphora.


Salish St’át’imcets Pacific Northwest Binding Anaphora Obviation Condition C Linking