Research on Language and Computation

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 103–131

Optimality, bidirectionality & the evolution of binding phenomena

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11168-006-9018-7

Cite this article as:
Mattausch, J. Research Language Computation (2007) 5: 103. doi:10.1007/s11168-006-9018-7


This paper argues for a frequentist/functionalist account of certain universal patterns of binding phenomena and strategies of reflexive marking. I will claim that the supposed effects of Principles A & B (Chomsky, Linguistic Inquiry 11, 1–46 1980; Reinhart and Reuland, Linguistic Inquiry 24,657–720 1993; et al.) can be treated as epiphenomena which emerge as a result of the complicit pressure of basic economy considerations and statistical asymmetries in language use. The account is spelled out explicitly in a stochastic version of bidirectional Optimality Theory and a novel type of constraint is proposed that enables a grammar to reflect statistical states of affairs in learning data. This approach in turn lends itself to an evolutionary story involving iterated, bidirectional learning.


Anaphora Binding theory Bidirectional Optimality Theory Disjoint reference presumption Frequentist explanation Bias constraints 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Jägerstraße 10-11BerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations