Dr. Hornstein asked that we review this stuff for his lecture tomorrow. See this PowerPoint from last year — text should help you follow along.
Basic Notations and Definitions
Transformation: We believe that we can apply transformations from sentences to create new sentences. For example, “you did buy what?” → “what did you buy?”
Traces: When a word moves, it leaves behind an unspoken word called a trace. For example, in “you did buy what?” → “whata did you buy ta?” the ta is the trace. Note that the second sentence gives you all the information that you need. So, by the we are lazy principle, we just don’t write out the first sentence.
Anaphora: An anaphor is a type of DP. Anaphora include reflexives (eg “himself”) and reciprocals (eg “each other”)
Referential Expressions: (aka r-expression) Any DP that’s not an anaphor or a pronoun (eg “the man”)
Co-reference: Two DPs are coreferenced if they refer to the same object. For example, in “Jessicaa hurt herselfa“, Jessica and herself are coreferenced. The subscripts tell us which things are co-referenced. Notice that traces are always coindexed with their head.
C-command: A node c-commands everything in that is below its sibling. For example, in the image to the right, A c-commands all nodes except M.
PRO: PRO is the overt (non-spoken) subject in finite clauses. For example, in “I want [PRO to sleep]”, PRO is the subject of “to sleep”.
The basic idea of behind binding (also called Government and Binding theory) is that there are three types of DPs: anaphora, pronouns, and referential expressions. Each type of DP can only be used in certain circumstances.
1 a) Jessicaa gave herselfa cookies.
1 *b) Jessicaa gave herselfb cookies.
2 a) Johna told Samb to help himc
2 b) Johna told Samb- to help hima
3 a) Hea thinks that theyb blame Johnc
3 *b) Hea thinks that theyb blame Johna
In example 1, Jessica and herself must refer to the same person. Meanwhile, in sentence 3, he and John cannot be the same person. Sentence 2 seems lucky: him and John could be the same person, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s ambiguous.
To formalize these rules, we’re going to define a relationship called bind. Node A binds node B iff
- A c-commands B
- A co-references B
We then have three additional grammar rules regarding binding (spoiler alert: they’re incomplete):
- Binding Condition A: Anaphora must be bound in a sentence
- Binding Condition B: Pronouns do not have to be bound in a sentence
- Binding Condition C: R-expression must be free (unbound)