A (Covert) Long Distance Anaphor in English

Christopher Kennedy and Jeffrey Lidz

The empirical focus of this paper is the distribution of strict and sloppy interpretations of reflexive pronouns in comparative stripping. We present a set of new data which indicates that strict readings of reflexives in comparative stripping, while possible, are blocked when the subject of the comparative clause is a name or pronoun. We then show that the pattern of strict readings in comparatives mirrors the pattern of long-distance anaphora in Chinese; in particular, the contexts in which strict readings are impossible are strikingly similar to the environments in which long-distance anaphora is blocked. We therefore propose that strict readings of reflexives in comparatives involve binding of a long-distance anaphor from the subject position of the matrix clause. We explain the apparent absence of a such an object in English by claiming that although the long-distance anaphor is a well-formed syntactic object, it has no morphological instantiation, and so cannot appear in a PF-representation without violating Full Interpretation. Such an object can appear in an elided constituent, however, because deletion of syntactic material in ellipsis bypasses the need for morphological realization.