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Structure of PERSON

Aug/Sept. 2016. Talk Handout. Workshop on Notions of Feature. SLE, Naples. 

Standard theories classify PERSON into three categories: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The goal of this paper is to argue that this classification is not fine-grained enough to capture all the PERSON distinctions attested in language. We actually need four categories of PERSON, not three. And we need a bivalent, rather than a privative feature system, involving a three-way dis- tinction for a feature [F] = {[+F], [−F], ∅}.  I will propose the following categories for PERSON which result from a fully binary classifi- cation on the feature [±Participant] in combination with [±Author]:  1st-PERSON = [+Participant, +Author] • 2nd-PERSON = [+Participant, −Author] • 3rd-PERSON = [−Participant, −Author] • NULL-PERSON = ∅  Empirical support for this proposal will primarily be brought in from differing patterns of behavior in anaphors cross linguistically, with additional potential evidence coming from PCC effects crosslinguistically. 

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