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Self-based Anaphora in Early Modern English


Ewa Kucelman

This book is a corpus-based study which aims to describe the class of self-pronouns as used in the Early Modern English period. Self-pronouns are presented as a multi-functional class, with two main functions, as emphatic forms and as reflexive markers. The emphatic function is seen as a continuation of an earlier state of affairs, whereas the reflexive function is described as a new, emerging one. As reflexive markers, self-pronouns in Early Modern English compete with personal pronouns. Therefore the book seeks to present the conditions of their distribution ranging from configurational and thematic through discursive to pragmatic factors involved in the choice of the reflexive strategy.


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English SELF pronouns have always posed problems for grammarians aiming at an exhaustive description of these forms. In Present-day English, SELF1 pronouns are most typically associated with their function as reflexive anaphoric elements and as such they are often analysed within the scope of the Binding Theory, as originated by Chomsky (1981) and since then elaborated on by himself and others. Standard Binding Theories are mostly interested in the distribution of different nominal elements, and so they try to grasp the difference between SELF and personal pronouns in terms of factors regulating the distribution of anaphoric versus pronominal elements. Alternatively, as proposed by Reinhart and Reuland (1993), binding is seen as resulting in the formation of reflexive or non-reflexive predicates, which are marked by the presence of SELF and personal pronouns, respectively. However, none of these theories, nor any other theory focused exclusively on syntactic dependencies, have been able to account for all uses of SELF pronouns. One of the reasons why the description of the distribution of SELF pronouns is so difficult is that apart from their function as reflexivity markers they can play the role of emphatic elements whose use is regulated by factors of not only syntactic but also pragmatic character. Interpretational difficulties concerning SELF pronouns spring from the fact that syntactic and pragmatic factors often lead to different conclusions. Consequently, when the application of a SELF pronoun is excluded by structural factors, it may be made possible by the presence of certain conditions of a pragmatic...

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