Logophor, Empathy, and Long-distance Anaphors in East Asian Languages


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Hyunjun PARK


Awarding Institution
  • Haihua PAN (Supervisor)
Award date18 Sep 2015


This dissertation investigates the semantics and discourse-pragmatics of long-distance anaphors in East Asian languages, such as Chinese ziji, Korean caki, and Japanese zibun. Recent literature has indicated that the long-distance binding conditions in these languages are met in either the semantic or discourse account rather than syntax, while the local binding must be treated by syntax. Adopting this view, my ultimate goal in this thesis is to give a unified treatment of the behaviors of long-distance anaphors observed in these languages.
First of all, I will examine the possibility of the bound variable status associated with Chinese ziji, Korean caki, and Japanese zibun, following Han and Storoshenko’s (2012) proposal which argues that Korean caki is best analyzed in terms of the mechanism of a bound variable construal. Several diagnoses, such as the c-command requirement, binding by quantificational noun phrases, VP ellipsis, focus particles, split antecedent, etc. are considered to reconcile them with a bound variable treatment and then I propose semantic binding for these three languages.
I will also sort through what has been said about an account of the logophoric pronoun with respect to long-distance anaphors in these languages. Adopting Sells’ (1987) judgments on the logophoric status of Japanese zibun, Yoon (1989) and Huang and Liu (2001) support the logophoric approach for Korean caki and Chinese ziji, respectively. However, I will point out that a lot of questions arise about the status of a logophoric pronoun that cannot fit into these criteria.
Toward the end of this thesis, besides the bound variable and logophoric pronoun status of ziji, caki, and zibun, I will demonstrate that the notion of empathy, taking Kuno and Kaburaki (1977), Oshima (2004, 2007), Nishigauchi (2014), and Wang and Pan’s (2014, 2015) analysis, plays another important role in overcoming all the difficulties that the existing binding theories have undergone with respect to Chinese, Korean, and Japanese idiosyncratic behaviors. This assumption will provide a clue to Pan’s (2001) puzzle, and even the incorporation of strong logophoric characteristics of Korean caki into an empathic use can be accounted for appropriately. Another advantage is that the infamous blocking effect in Chinese can not only be easily explained, but also naturally observed in other languages like Japanese and Korean. Lastly, the inanimate noun phrases, which are very natural expressions, can be a potential antecedent of the long- distance anaphors in these languages.
In conclusion, if we employ the notion of empathy in accounting for long- distance anaphors in East Asian languages, then I argue that we can offer a more effective alternative treatment for phenomena beyond the scope of logophoricity.