Natural Language Semantics

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 285–298 | Cite as

Donkey Demonstratives

  • Barbara Abbott


Donkey pronouns (e.g., it in Every farmer who owns a donkey beats it) are argued to have an interpretation more similar to a demonstrative phrase (e.g., . . . beats that donkey) than to any of the other alternatives generally considered (e.g., . . . the donkey(s) he owns, . . . a donkey he owns). Like the demonstrative phrase, the pronoun is not equivalent to Evans' E-type paraphrase, nor to either the weak or the strong reading sometimes claimed for donkey sentences. A consequence is to narrow the range of formal analyses.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barker, Chris: 1996, 'Presuppositions for Proportional Quantifiers', Natural Language Semantics 4, 237-259.Google Scholar
  2. Barker, S. J.: 1997, 'E-type Pronouns, DRT, Dynamic Semantics and the Quantifier/Variable-Binding Model', Linguistics and Philosophy 20, 195-228.Google Scholar
  3. Burge, Tyler: 1974, 'Demonstrative Constructions, Reference, and Truth', Journal of Philosophy 71, 205-223.Google Scholar
  4. Chierchia, Gennaro: 1992, 'Anaphora and Dynamic Binding', Linguistics and Philosophy 15, 111-184.Google Scholar
  5. Chierchia, Gennaro: 1995, Dynamics of Meaning: Anaphora, Presupposition, and the Theory of Grammar, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  6. Cooper, Robin: 1979, 'The Interpretation of Pronouns', in F. Heny and H. S. Schnelle (eds.), Syntax and Semantics, vol. 10: Selections from the Third Groningen Round Table, pp. 61-92. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Donnellan, Keith S.: 1966, 'Reference and Definite Descriptions', Philosophical Review 77, 281-304.Google Scholar
  8. Elbourne, Paul: 2001a, 'E-type Anaphora as NP-Deletion', Natural Language Semantics 9, 241-288.Google Scholar
  9. Elbourne, Paul: 2001b, 'On the Semantics of Pronouns and Definite Articles', in K. Megerdoomian and L. A. Bar-el (eds.), Proceedings of WCCFL 20, pp. 164-177. Cascadilla Press, Somerville, Mass.Google Scholar
  10. Elbourne, Paul: 2001c, 'When Is Situation Semantics Allowed?', in R. Hastings, B. Jackson and Z. Zvolenszky (eds.), Proceedings of SALT 11, pp. 152-171. Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.Google Scholar
  11. Evans, Gareth: 1977, 'Pronouns, Quantifiers, and Relative Clauses', Canadian Journal of Philosophy 7, 467-536.Google Scholar
  12. Evans, Gareth: 1980, 'Pronouns', Linguistic Inquiry 11, 337-362.Google Scholar
  13. Haspelmath, Martin: 1999, 'Explaining Article-Possessor Complementarity: Economic Motivation in Noun Phrase Sytax', Language 75, 227-243.Google Scholar
  14. Heim, Irene: 1982, The Semantics of Definite and Indefinite Noun Phrases, PhD dissertation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.Google Scholar
  15. Heim, Irene: 1990, 'E-type Pronouns and Donkey Anaphora', Linguistics and Philosophy 13, 137-178.Google Scholar
  16. Von Heusinger, Klaus: 1997, 'Definite Descriptions and Choice Functions', in S. Akama (ed.), Logic, Language and Computation, pp. 61-92. Kluwer, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  17. Kadmon, Nirit: 1990, 'Uniqueness', Linguistics and Philosophy 13, 273-324.Google Scholar
  18. Kanazawa, Makoto: 1994, 'Weak vs. Strong Readings of Donkey Sentences and Monotonicity Inference in a Dynamic Setting', Linguistics and Philosophy 17, 109-158.Google Scholar
  19. Kanazawa, Makoto: 2001, 'Singular Donkey Pronouns Are Semantically Singular', Linguistics and Philosophy 24, 383-403.Google Scholar
  20. King, Jeffrey C.: 2001, Complex Demonstratives: A Quantificational Account, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  21. Lappin, Shalom and Nissim Francez: 1994, 'E-type Pronouns, I-sums, and Donkey Anaphora', Linguistics and Philosophy 17, 391-428.Google Scholar
  22. Larson, Richard and Gabriel Segal: 1995, Knowledge of Meaning, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  23. Lepore, Ernest and Kirk Ludwig: 2000, 'The Semantics and Pragmatics of Complex Demonstratives', Mind 109, 199-240.Google Scholar
  24. Neale, Stephen: 1990, Descriptions, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  25. Peacocke, Christopher: 1975, 'Proper Names, Reference, and Rigid Designation', in S. Blackburn (ed.), Meaning, Reference, Necessity, pp. 109-132, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Reprinted in G. Ostertag (ed.), 1998, Definite Descriptions: A Reader, pp. 201-224, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  26. Rooth, Mats: 1987, 'Noun Phrase Interpretation in Montague Grammar, File Change Semantics, and Situation Semantics', in P. Gärdenfors (ed.), Generalized Quantifiers: Linguistic and Logical Approaches, pp. 237-268. Reidel, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  27. Schubert, Lenhart K. and Francis Jeffry Pelletier: 1989, 'Generically Speaking, Or, Using Discourse Representation Theory to Interpret Generics', in G. Chierchia, B. H. Partee, and R. Turner (eds.), Properties, Types and Meaning, Vol. 2: Semantic Issues, pp. 193-268. Kluwer, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  28. Slater, B. H.: 1997, 'The Epsilon Calculus' Problematic', in S. Akama (ed.), Logic, Language and Computation, pp. 39-60. Kluwer, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  29. Slater, B.H.: 2000, 'Quantifier/Variable-Binding', Linguistics and Philosophy 23, 309-321.Google Scholar
  30. Wilson, George M.: 1984, 'Pronouns and Pronominal Descriptions: A New Semantical Category', Philosophical Studies 45, 1-30.Google Scholar
  31. Wilson, George M.: 1991, 'Reference and Pronominal Descriptions', Journal of Philosophy 88, 359-387.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Abbott
    • 1
  1. 1.Linguistics and LanguagesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations