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Overt versus Zero Pronouns in Mandarin Chinese

Abstract

The distribution of Mandarin overt and zero pronouns in donkey sentences is compatible with what has been found in Japanese. Most cases can be accounted for by a distinction of binding methods: specifically, overt pronouns must be dynamically bound, and zero pronouns could be either dynamically bound or interpreted via the E-type strategy. However, in both languages, the classic “every farmer who owns a donkey beats it” sentence behaves unexpectedly. To resolve this inconsistency, an additional criterion, unique versus anaphoric definites, is introduced. This approach also sheds light on the syntactic representation of pronouns in Mandarin.

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