Friday, December 10, 2010

Facebook and Binding

I recently came across a page on Facebook that I found to be rather chuckle-worthy. Here is the title and a link:

In this basic tree (taken from the Facebook page), Dylan is the antecedent and himself is the anaphor. Dylan and himself are coindexed as can be seen by the subscript indices. Dylan c-commands himself as illustrated by tree position.

An antecedent is a noun phrase that gives its meaning to another noun phrase.

An anaphor is a noun phrase that gets its meaning from another noun phrase in the clause.

Binding Principle A states that an anaphor must be bound in its binding domain.

The binding domain is, loosely stated, the clause in which the anaphor appears.

Binding is a relation between two phrases that involves c-command and coindexing.

More on c-command, coindexing and binding coming soon.


Anonymous said...

That's interesting. I've just been reading about how children maintain reference in discourse, so this is relevant! Your example has prompted me to ask...

Does anaphora have to occur in the same clause, or can it be over a whole sentence, for example:

I love John because he is good to me.

Also, can a pronoun be an antecedent, followed by another pronoun which is an anaphor (as in, 'I' and 'me' above)?

Thank you!

Amber (UK)

Laura Payne said...

Hi Amber,

Yes, anaphors must be in the same clause as their antecedents. In your example sentence "he", "I" and "me" are all pronouns, not anaphors.

There are two types of anaphors: reflexive and reciprocal. Reflexive are pronouns like "himself", "herself" and "themselves". Recipricol are words like "each other".

As far as pronouns, they are restricted by Binding Principle B which states that a pronoun must be free in its binding domain.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Anonymous said...

Ah, now I understand!
Thanks :)

argumentics said...

"See? Linguists can make sexual innuendo out of topics in their field of study too!"

Got to give him that...

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