On the (in)definiteness of impersonal pronouns

Sarah Zobel

Abstract


This paper addresses the question whether impersonal pronouns should be analyzed as indefinite or definite expressions based on their discourse anaphoric potential. I present new data that support the claim that impersonal pronouns should be analyzed as neither (see Koenig & Mauner 1999). I sketch a formal analysis that captures this behaviour. Furthermore, I show that the availability of quantificational variability effects for impersonal pronouns is not foolproof evidence for their indefiniteness as is usually assumed in the literature (see Malamud 2013).

Keywords


impersonal pronouns, German, man, existential use, discourse anaphoric potential

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4312/linguistica.56.1.363-374

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Copyright (c) 2016 Sarah Zobel

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Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts
(Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani) 

Print ISSN: 0024-3922
Online ISSN: 2350-420X