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On doctors, patients and mirrors. Binding by object and complex reflexives in German 


Zurück zum Heft: Linguistische Berichte Heft 239
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The syntax of object-related anaphora in German has been subject to a controversy that includes the acceptability status of crucial example sentences, and the relevance of systematic empirical research for syntactic theory. In this paper, the relevant data and results are recapitulated. I show that some results from an experimental study by Featherston & Sternefeld (2003) are confounded by a problem first observed by Jackendoff (1992). Once this problem has been taken into account, it turns out that an observation about object related binding of reciprocals with the verb vorstellen ('to introduce'), thus far treated as exceptional, is the best kind of evidence to answer the question whether object-related anaphors obey the obliqueness hierarchy of case forms. To fully understand the patterns of German reflexivization, it is necessary to take into account patterns of complex reflexives formed with intensifiers like selbst . It is claimed that the intensifiers serve different purposes in different contexts. In the case of complex reflexives bound by dative objects, their interpretation is governed by pragmatic principles.