Homepage of Sandhya Sundaresan.  

Perspectival Anaphora:

2016. Unpublished Ms., University of Leipzig. Currently under review.   

The goal of this paper is to argue that perspective, expressed along the spatio-temporal and mental dimensions, is syntactically motivated. To this end, I present evidence from non-local anaphora in the Dravidian language Tamil which, like its counterparts in Icelandic, Italian, Japanese and Malayalam, is perspective-driven (i.e. the antecedent of a successfully bound anaphor must denote a perspective-holder toward some predication containing the anaphor). However, Tamil provides compelling evidence in the form of verbal agreement that the perspective that regulates anaphoric dependencies is syntactically represented. In particular, I will argue that the agreement marking that obtains on the clausemate verb of a nominative anaphor in Tamil seems to be anomalously triggered, not by the anaphor or by its antecedent, but by a silent perspectival pronoun local to the verb. Assuming that agreement is a morphosyntactic process, such a thesis, if correct, then entails that perspective must be syntactically (i.e. structurally and featurally) instantiated.

2016. Proceedings of Formal Approaches to South Asian Languages 5: 123-142.

This paper analyzes the nature of the dependency between an anaphor and its antecedent when the two are co-arguments  — using the Dravidian language, Tamil, as a case-study. I will henceforth reserve the term “reflexivity” for this type of relation. Like cases of reflexivity in many languages (see Reinhart and Reuland, 1993; Jayaseelan, 1997; Reuland, 2001b, 2011, for an overview), this dependency is distinguished from other cases of anaphora in the language by being specially marked. This in turn suggests that reflexivity is special and requires recourse to additional grammatical devices than do standard cases of anaphora where the antecedent and anaphor are not co-arguments. Of particular importance here will be the structural interaction between grammatical perspective, represented along the mental and/or spatio-temporal dimensions in a syntactic perspectival phrase or PerspP (Sundaresan, 2012) and reflexivity.

2014. Unpublished Ms., University of Leipzig & ZAS, Berlin. 

Perspectival predicates along the mental dimension (psych/attitude/“taste” predicates) and along the spatial one (locational and path predicates) systematically resemble one another syntactically, semantically, and morphologically. The ways they differ from one another (categorially and crosslinguistically) are also suggestive and set them apart from non-perspectival predicates. But for all their telling similarities/differences, spatial and mental predicates are seldom discussed in the same breath, and the syntactico-semantic conditions regulating the representation of different types of perspective remain poorly understood. Here, we take a first step toward filling this gap. Our empirical starting point is the observation that the antecedents of all perspectival anaphors, including spatial-perspective-driven anaphors, must denote sentient individuals. On the strength of such data, we propose that all perspective is ultimately mental in nature. In particular, we argue that all perspectival predicates quantify over elements of a set that are designated by a sentient entity as candidates for the actual time/location/world of that entity. The difference between spatial, temporal, and attitudinal/psych predicates, lies merely in the choice of this coordinate – a choice that may in turn be parametrized with respect to the nature and category of predication involved.

2013. Talk Handout. CGSW 28. Universität Leipzig. 

The goal of this talk is to argue that certain non-local anaphoric dependencies (NLA) in Icelandic and potentially also Norwegian and Dutch, may receive a unified analysis within a formal model where mental/spatio-temporal perspective is syntactically represented.  Such a model is superior to one where a proper subset of supposedly “well-behaved” NLAs receive a structural treatment while the more problematic ones (involving non- c-commanding antecedents, logophora and the like) are analyzed as purely pragmatic, with no structural component, given the empirical similarities between the two.  I will show, furthermore, that the structural instantiation of perspective is independently supported by empirical evidence from verbal agreement paradigms in a completely different language –- namely Tamil, a non Indo-European language of the Dravidian family. 

2012. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Tromsø and University of Stuttgart.

It is well known that referentially defective nominals fall into two broad categories: pro-forms whose reference seems structurally constrained (local anaphors, OC PRO) and those which are discourse-pragmatically conditioned (logophors, deictic pronouns, indexicals). Nevertheless, a strict binary distinction cannot be maintained because most actually straddle the syntax-discourse divide: e.g. deictic pronouns can be variable-bound, indexicals may be “shifted” under certain intensional operators, and logophors and long-distance anaphors often look and behave alike. The central thesis of this dissertation is that a proper subset of pro- forms can receive a unified analysis under an enriched grammatical model that posits the syntactic representation of mental and/or spatio-temporal perspective. To this end, I present novel evidence from verbal agreement triggered under anaphora to show that even so-called “logophoric” reference involves an indelible syntactic core. I propose that perspective is featurally represented on a silent pronominal operator in the specifier of a Perspectival phrase (PerspP) at the phasal-edge of certain CPs, PPs, DPs, and AspPs and may be exploited to yield a unified account of anaphora and agreement patterns triggered under it. Anaphora involves two distinct dependencies: an Agree relationship between the anaphor and the operator in the [Spec, PerspP] of its minimal phase, which is the equivalent of syntactic binding, and a conceptual relationship between the antecedent and this operator, which is the equivalent of non-obligatory control. Thus, all binding is local and syntactic; all antecedence is non-local and (primarily) non-syntactic. I also illustrate that perspective must be kept conceptually and structurally distinct from the Kaplanian utterance context and the intensional “context” responsible for indexical shift. The main language of investigation is the Dravidian language Tamil but crosslinguistic comparisons are made with: Abe, Aghem, Amharic, Czech, Donna SO, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Malayalam, Mupun, Navajo, North Sami, Norwegian, Romanian, Russian, Slave, Swahili, Telugu, Uyghur, and Zazaki. The Tamil judgments are bolstered by the results of an online survey conducted among 38 native speakers around the world.

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