Reciprocal Pronouns Binding within Psych-verb Constructions

Napoleon Epoge


This paper aims at giving an analysis of certain syntactic peculiarities of reciprocal pronouns within verbs of psychological state, commonly known as psych-verbs. The analysis reveal that psych-verbs constructions have a peculiar property in that the binding conditions of reciprocal pronouns are satisfied in Experiencer-Subject (ES) psych-verbs constructions but are not in the Experiencer-Object (EO) at the surface level; though the latter constructions are grammatical. However, the paper argues that though binding conditions are not satisfied in EO psych-verb constructions at the surface level, they are satisfied in the deep structure (D-structure) construction wherein the reciprocal pronoun, in the theme argument, is bound by a c-commanding Experiencer argument. By so doing, it satisfies binding condition A which holds that a reciprocal pronoun must be bound by an appropriate c-command antecedent. This analysis shows that reciprocal binding in Experiencer-Object psych-verb constructions, at the D-structure, does not reflect the linear order in the thematic hierarchy as proposed by Grimshaw (1990) and the psych-verb in EO D-structure construction is construed as one with two internal arguments.

Keywords: antecedent, binding theory, D-structure, psych-verb, reciprocal pronoun, S-structure

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