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Reference Tracking and Anti-prominence in Atchan Pronouns

Rebecca Cover
University of California, Berkeley
Tue October 10th 2023, 3:30 - 4:50pm
Margaret Jacks Hall, Room 048

Cross-linguistically, many pronouns that exhibit restricted coreferential/binding possibilities have been proposed to have structural differences that constrain their distributions.  In this talk, I draw on primary fieldwork on Atchan (Kwa, Côte d'Ivoire) to document a coreferentially-restricted pronoun that resists occurring in or being construed as coreferential with subjects and left-peripheral items.  I additionally show that the alternation between the ordinary and restricted pronoun in Atchan is leveraged in texts as a form of reference tracking, with the restricted pronoun usually tracking less-topical referents.  I propose an analysis of the restricted pronoun in Atchan that combines a presuppositional semantics for the restricted pronoun with semantic binding by items in the clause-peripheral syntactic structure.  This work, which argues against positing a richer internal syntactic structure for the restricted pronoun, contributes to our understanding of coreferentially-restricted pronouns across languages.