SYNTAX/SEMANTICS: type of anaphoric relation obtaining in a range of constructions that apparently preclude straightforward bound variable anaphora or coreference. In (i):
(i) every farmer who owns a donkey beats itthe pronoun is interpretively dependent upon a donkey. However, coreference cannot obtain since a donkey does not have a single reference that might be shared by it, since a donkey is in the scope of the universal quantifier. But the pronoun also cannot be interpreted as a variable bound (i.e. a bound variable) by a donkey, since it is not in the scope of that expression. Two types of analyses have been proposed, both of which face various problems. E-type analyses (Cooper 1979, Evans 1977, Heim 1990) take the pronoun to function as a definite description which copies its descriptive content from the context (of utterance): "the unique donkey that x owns". Unselective binding analyses take the pronoun as a variable 'unselectively' bound (Lewis 1975) by every, resulting in a universal quantification over pairs, as in (ii).
(ii) All" <x,y> (x owns donkey y) (x beats y)This approach, which requires a non-quantificational interpretation of indefinite NPs that function as donkey antecedents, has been implemented in Discourse Representation Theory (Kamp 1981, Heim 1982). Other well-known donkey-contexts are conditional clause type examples (iii)a and the relatively under-researched VP-conjunction examples (iii)b.
(iii) a if a man comes in here, he will trip the switch b every farmer owns some donkeys and feeds them at night
|LIT.||Cooper, R. (1979)|
Evans, G. (1977)
Geach, P. (1962)
Heim, I. (1982)
Heim, I. (1990)
Kamp, H. (1981)
Lewis, D. (1975)
Ruys, E. (1992)