ANTILOGOPHORICITY, EPITHETS AND THE EMPTY ANTILOGOPHOR IN CHINESE

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Abstract

The null object in examples which Xu (1986) provides to argue against the existence of the subject-object asymmetry of the kind observed in Huang (1982, 1984a, b) in fact is an empty antilogophor (henceforth EA) subject to Binding Condition B and the Empty Antilogophoric Condition. I believe that there are at least two types of null objects in Chinese, namely the EA and the variable. The former must occur in a pragmatically oriented environment where a pragmatically downgraded internal protagonisted antecedent is available while the latter may occur in a pragmatically neutral environment. Seen in this way, Xu's examples at first sight appear to be problematic for Huang's (1982, 1984a, b and 1987) Null Topic Analysis, but upon a closer scrutiny turn out not to apply. The Empty Antilogophoric Analysis of the Chinese null object in Xu's examples has two theoretical and empirical implications: first, the proposal is reminiscent of Dubinsky and Hamilton's (1998) Antilogophoric Analysis of English epithets; this further implies that Huang's (1991) Null Epithet Analysis of null objects, which suggests that the Chinese null object is the null counterpart of epithets subject to Binding Condition C, is inadequate. Second, the patterns observed may indicate that there are at least three types of antilogophors in Chinese; these are not independent of each other but represent different degrees of directness in which antilogophoric attitudes manifest themselves.

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