Mismatched pronouns: specification discrepancies between pronominals and their morphosyntactic or semantic context

April 11, 2023 – University of Graz

Invited speaker: Elena Anagnostopoulou (University of Crete)

Pronouns and their morphosyntactic or semantic contexts (antecedents, referents, controllers of agreement etc.) are typically linked in such a way that the pronouns’ properties match the context (e.g., pronouns marked for plural are linked to plural antecedents or referents). Nevertheless, mismatches between pronouns and their context are surprisingly frequent (e.g., German neuter das Mädchen ‘the girl’ as an antecedent for feminine sie ‘she/her’), and they come in many different shapes (see below). The workshop brings together researchers working on mismatches in the pronominal domain. The aim is to gain a better understanding of the empirical range of these mismatches in light of redundancy and deficiency (both across mismatch types and cross-linguistically) and of their representation in a formal linguistic theory. What categories (gender, number, person etc.) are involved in the mismatch? What pronoun types are involved in mismatches? Are the (properties of) mismatches dependent on the position of the mismatched pronouns in the Agreement Hierarchy, on pronoun types (e.g., personal pronouns vs. relative pronouns), or the type of controller? Does a given mismatch extend to other targets which are linked to the pronoun’s controller? What semantic mismatches do pronouns enter, why and how are they resolved (e.g., neuter personal and demonstrative pronouns may be degraded when used for animates, masculine and feminine for inanimates)?

We invite submissions from all subfields of generative linguistics. The topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • mismatches between formal and semantic gender, number, person
  • mismatches in feature structure of participants in agreement
  • comitative coordination, fake indexicals, imposters, monsters, mismatched reciprocals and reflexives
  • hybrid pronouns as in polite uses
  • pronouns vs. ellipsis
  • mismatches at LF vs. mismatches at PF
  • allomorphy, suppletion


Ackema, Peter; Neeleman, Ad (2018): Features of Person. From the inventory of persons to their morphological realization. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Adamson, Luke; Šereikaitė, Milena (2019): Representing gender and defaults: Evidence from Lithuanian. In Glossa 4 (1), 121. DOI: 10.5334/gjgl.860.

Alexiadou, Artemis; Rizou, Vasiliki; Tsokanos, Nikolaos; Karkaletsou, Foteini (2021): Gender Agreement Mismatches in Heritage Greek. In Languages 6 (1), 3. DOI: 10.3390/languages6010003.

Anagnostopoulou, Elena (2005): Strong and Weak Person Restrictions: A feature checking analysis. In Lorie Heggie, Fernando Ordóñez (Eds.): Clitic and affix combinations. Theoretical perspectives. Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp. 199–235.

Anagnostopoulou, Elena (2017): Clitic Doubling. In Martin Everaert, Henk van Riemsdijk (Eds.): The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Syntax. 2nd ed. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Anagnostopoulou, Elena (2017): Gender and defaults. In Nicolas LaCara, Keir Moulton, Anne-Michelle Tessier (Eds.): A Schrift to Fest Kyle Johnson. University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Linguistics Open Access Publications, pp. 23–31.

Bach, Kent (1992): Intentions and Demonstrations. In Analysis 52 (3), pp. 140–146. DOI: 10.2307/3328374.

Béjar, Susana; Rezac, Milan (2003): Person licensing and the derivation of PCC effects. In Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux, Yves Roberge (Eds.): Romance Linguistics. Theory and Acquisition. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 49–62.

Bianchi, Valentina (2006): On the syntax of personal arguments. In Lingua 116 (12), pp. 2023–2067. DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2005.05.002.

Bonet, Eulàlia (1991): Morphology after syntax: Pronominal clitics in Romance. Dissertation. MIT, Cambridge, MA.

Büring, Daniel (2005): Binding Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cardinaletti, Anna; Starke, Michal (1999): The typology of structural deficiency. A case study of the three classes of pronouns. In Henk van Riemsdijk (Ed.): Clitics in the Languages of Europe. Berlin: de Gruyter, pp. 145–233.

Corbett, Greville G. (1979): The agreement hierarchy. In Journal of Linguistics 15 (2), pp. 203–224. DOI: 10.1017/S0022226700016352.

Corbett, Greville G. (2006): Agreement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

D’Alessandro, Roberta (2007): Impersonal “si” constructions. Agreement and Interpretation. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Dalrymple, Mary; Kanazawa, Makoto; Kim, Yookyung; McHombo, Sam; Peters, Stanley (1998): Reciprocal Expressions and the Concept of Reciprocity. In Linguistics and Philosophy 21 (2), pp. 159–210. Available online at http://www.jstor.org/stable/25001700.

Elbourne, Paul (2001): E-Type Anaphora as NP-Deletion. In Natural Language Semantics 9 (3), pp. 241–288. Available online at http://www.jstor.org/stable/23748811.

Elbourne, Paul (2005): Situations and individuals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Haspelmath, Martin (1997): Indefinite Pronouns. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Heim, Irene (1990): E-Type Pronouns and Donkey Anaphora. In Linguistics and Philosophy 13 (2), pp. 137–177. Available online at http://www.jstor.org/stable/25001382.

Heim, Irene; Lasnik, Howard; May, Robert (1991): Reciprocity and Plurality. In Linguistic Inquiry 22 (1), pp. 63–101. Available online at http://www.jstor.org/stable/4178708.

Hornstein, Norbert (1995): Logical form. From GB to minimalism. Oxford: Blackwell.

Jacobson, Pauline (2000): Paycheck Pronouns, Bach-Peters Sentences, and Variable Free Semantics. In Natural Language Semantics 8 (2), pp. 77–155. Available online at http://www.jstor.org/stable/23748133.

Kaplan, David (1989): Demonstratives. In Howard K. Wettstein, Joseph Almog, John Perry (Eds.): Themes from Kaplan. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 481–563.

Karttunen, Lauri (1969): Pronouns and Variables. In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society 5 (1), pp. 108–116.

Kratzer, Angelika (2009): Making a Pronoun: Fake Indexicals as Windows into the Properties of Pronouns. In Linguistic Inquiry 40 (2), pp. 187–237. Available online at http://www.jstor.org/stable/40284312.

Merchant, Jason (2005): Fragments and ellipsis. In Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (6), pp. 661–738. DOI: 10.1007/s10988-005-7378-3.

Moltmann, Friederike (2006): Generic one, arbitrary PRO, and the first person. In Natural Language Semantics 14 (3), pp. 257–281. DOI: 10.1007/s11050-006-9002-7.

Nevins, Andrew (2011): Multiple agree with clitics: person complementarity vs. omnivorous number. In Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 29 (4), pp. 939–971. DOI: 10.1007/s11049-011-9150-4.

Postal, Paul M. (1970): On So-called Pronouns in English. In Roderick A. Jacobs, Peter S. Rosenbaum (Eds.): Readings in English Transformational Grammar. Waltham, MA: Ginn and Company, pp. 56–82.

Reinhart, Tanya (1983): Anaphora and Semantic Interpretation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Reinhart, Tanya; Reuland, Eric (1993): Reflexivity. In Linguistic Inquiry 24 (4), pp. 657–720. Available online at http://www.jstor.org/stable/4178836.

Sauerland, Uli (2013): Presuppositions and the alternative tier. In Todd Snider (Ed.): Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory 23: LSA, pp. 156–173.

Schlenker, Philippe (2005): Non-Redundancy: Towards A Semantic Reinterpretation of Binding Theory. In Natural Language Semantics 13 (1), pp. 1–92. Available online at http://www.jstor.org/stable/23748139.

Smith, Peter (2015): Feature Mismatches: Consequences for Syntax, Morphology and Semantics. Dissertation. University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.

Sportiche, Dominique (1996): Clitic constructions. In Johan Rooryck, Laurie Zaring (Eds.): Phrase Structure and the Lexicon. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 213–276.

Szabolcsi, Anna (2003): Binding on the fly: Cross-sentential anaphora in variable-free semantics. In Geert-Jan M. Kruijff, Richard T. Oehrle (Eds.): Resource-Sensitivity, Binding and Anaphora. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 215–229.

von Heusinger, Klaus (1997): Salienz und Referenz: Der Epsilonoperator in der Semantik der Nominalphrase und anaphorischer Pronomen. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.

Wechsler, Stephen; Hahm, Hyun-Jong (2011): Polite plurals and adjective agreement. In Morphology 21 (2), pp. 247–281. DOI: 10.1007/s11525-010-9168-z.

Wurmbrand, Susi (2017): Formal and semantic agreement in syntax: A dual feature approach. In Joseph Emonds, Markéta Janebová (Eds.): Language Use and Linguistic Structure: Proceedings of the Olomouc Linguistics Colloquium 2016. Olomouc: Palacký University, pp. 19–36.