A Theoretical Synthesis

Darcy Sperlich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The theoretical approaches to reflexive pronouns have had a long tradition in the pragmatic, semantic and syntactic literature (including within other schools of thought, such as cognitive linguistics). Given the ERA model adopted here, the main focus is on pragmatic and syntactic approaches to anaphora. The theoretical model postulates that different languages use either syntactic or pragmatic strategies (or both) in the regulation of their reflexive pronouns—and what these strategies might be is specifically explored in this chapter when introducing the ERA model. It may be that one language uses a syntactic approach, while another uses a pragmatic one. Another possibility is that a language may use both processes but with a certain order to them; e.g. if syntax fails to assign a dependency, pragmatics will take over. In the past, these two lines of thought have been portrayed as rivals, one trying to gain territory from the other, but nowadays, especially given the complexity of patterns, theorists are more likely to adopt both pragmatic and syntactic explanations (or semantic ones) to complement one another.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage, Cognition, and Mind
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages75
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameLanguage, Cognition, and Mind
ISSN (Print)2364-4109
ISSN (Electronic)2364-4117


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