On the (in)definiteness of impersonal pronouns

Sarah Zobel


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).


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

Full Text:


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


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Sarah Zobel

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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

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