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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Binding-theoretic analysis of Navajo possessor YI- Horseherder, Nicole


This thesis examines possessor yi- in Navajo (Southern Athabaskan). Previous analyses deal with,y/- mainly as a prefix attached to verbs and post-positions; in contrast to prior work, this thesis analyzes yi- as a possessor prefix (attached to nouns). I propose that possessor yi- is a disjoint anaphor (DA), as originally proposed by Saxon (1984a, 1986,1995) for its cognate in Dogrib (Northern Athabaskan). As a disjoint anaphor it must have a local A'-antecedent from which it is disjoint in reference. I show that, yi- must also have an A'-antecedent with which it is obligatorily coreferent. I interpret the binding behavior of yi- in terms of (Aouns1 1985) theory of Generalized Binding. I claim that since it must simultaneously satisfy condition (as an A-anaphor) and C (since it must be A-free), yi- must crucially have two antecedents: an A-antecedent with which it is coreferent, and an A-antecedent from which it is disjoint in reference. I show that for this relation to be licit, both antecedents (A' and A) must also agree in phi-features with yi-, which is inherently specified as third person singular.

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