Emphatic Reflexives

The formal properties of bare reflexives occuring as adnominal and adverbial modifiers

Reflexive elements can be used to express an adverbial/adnominal interpretation as in “The queen herself phoned” and “No one did it themselves”. There are many theoretical and empirical questions about these Emphatic Reflexives (also referred to as Intensifiers, Intensifying Reflexives or Intensive Pronouns). For example, are they reflexives? If so, are they exempt or do they follow normal binding principles? How many formally distinct types of ERs are there? Are they always under prosodic focus, and if so why? I argue there are exactly two types of formally distinct Emphatic Reflexives, based on semantic felicity conditions, syntactic properties, and typological morphosyntactic expression. Close investigation reveals that they follow normal conditions on binding, and are not exempt from binding principles.

some work in this project

  1. Ahn, Byron. 2010, September. Syntactic Configurations of Emphatic Reflexives. Talk presented at the workshop on Peculiar Binding Configurations, University of Stuttgart.
  2. Ahn, Byron. 2010. Not Just Emphatic Reflexives Themselves: Their Prosody, Semantics and Syntax. UCLA dissertation.