Competition and Complementarity

Ken Safir

in The Syntax of Anaphora

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780195166132
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199788460 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax

 Competition and Complementarity

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology


Show Summary Details


Unlike theories that stipulate complementary distribution of anaphors and pronouns, the theory of competition between dependent forms proposed here predicts that complementary distribution of anaphors, pronouns and referring expressions should hold, unless two forms tie. Apparent empirical counterexamples to the complementary distribution of pronouns and anaphors are addressed. A variety of arguments are given to show that competition between dependent forms to represent dependent identity relations as established by the Form-to-Interpretation Principle, derives Principles B and C, and is the only theory that provides natural explanations for apparent violations of principles (like Principle B) when a morphological paradigm does not include an anaphor (as in Old English) while at the same time the competitive theory predicts the distribution of Principle C effects whenever pronouns are available and the antecedent c-commands. Conditions ranking the forms in competition, scalar intervention effects that eliminate competitors in certain contexts, and other conditions on the nature of the competition between forms are explored. Earlier competition theories are evaluated in light of this one and pragmatic competition theories are rejected in favor of the syntactic-interpretive principle proposed here.

Keywords: complementary distribution; For-to-Interpretation Principle; competition; scalar intervention; dependent identity

Chapter.  23620 words. 

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.