I encounter something interesting about coordination in binding theory.

(1) John1 picked [his own] 1/*2 shoes and [his]*1/2 clothes.

(2) John1 picked [his] 1/2 shoes and [his own]1/*2 clothes.

(3) John1 picked [ [his]*1/2 and [his own]1/*2 ] clothes.

Interestingly, for sentence (1), the coordinated part 'his clothes' cannot refer to John. In contrast with (1), sentence (2) says that both pronouns can refer to John, and the first pronoun his can also indicate a third party. As for sentence (3), having two pronouns referring to the same person is impossible.

I am not sure if the judgments are robust. Is anyone aware of any theories discussing these types of data? It would be very helpful!

Thanks for your time!

  • 1
    I'm afraid you're wrong, own is not required in either of (1-2) and makes no difference to either the meaning or the grammaticality in either case. In (3) the pragmatics strongly suggest that the first his doesn't refer to John, but this is not grammatically determined. Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 23:36
  • @Araucaria-him I understand that in (3), the pragmatics suggest that the two pronouns cannot refer to the same person. That is very true. But I am wondering if you know anything theories that discuss it. Sometimes I am not clear when pragmatics plays a central role in this case but in other cases, it is not.
    – Yili Xia
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 2:14
  • @Araucaria-him Thanks again for pointing out the wrong data. I am curious if it is true that there is any small difference between (1) and (2). For me, it sounds different. The first conjunct (1) restricts the reference of the second conjunct whereas it is not the same in (2). I am not confident in my judgment. It is my sense of intuition.
    – Yili Xia
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 2:18
  • Why own is not required? I was trying to list different possibilities of coordination with pronouns. I read in the literature from Katada (1991:305) that she mentions in Japanese, zibun lit. 'self' limits the coreference possibility of Kare lit. 'he'. I am wondering if English performs the same too as the given examples (1,2,3).
    – Yili Xia
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 5:07


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