• External Argument Focus and the Syntax of Reflexivity

      Ahn, Byron; University of California, Los Angeles (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle (Tucson, Arizona), 2012)
      It is unexpected under previous accounts that, in a subclass of sentences that contain reflexive anaphors, focus on a reflexive anaphor can be felicitously interpreted as a response to a subject-question (e.g. "Johnny burned HIMSELF" as a response to "Who burned Johnny?"). This focus phenomenon can only be accounted for under existing theories of focus and syntax-prosody mapping if the syntactic representation of reflexivity is amended, as is pursued in this paper. A revised model of reflexivity such as the one presented in this paper is not only able to account for this focus data, but is generally more empirically robust: able to better account for the distribution of phrasal stress in clauses with reflexive anaphors, as well as the realization of reflexivity of other languages.