Dr. Karen Park: An Absent Anaphor and Peculiar Predicates: Reflexive Strategies in Fijian

February 17, 2017 (All day)


Until relatively recently, little research has been conducted on the phenomenon of reflexive marking in the Fijian language, and, with the exception of Moyse-Faurie (2008) and Park (2008, 2012, 2013), much of what has been done describes Fijian as lacking a dedicated reflexive marker (Schütz 1985; Dixon 1988; Büring 2005). This talk offers a close look at reflexive contexts in Fijian to arrive at the conclusion that the language, in fact, contains three different reflexive types which demonstrate distinct binding domains, antecedent requirements, and what appears to be selective predicate constraints. 

The existence of multiple reflexive types in Fijian finds it grouped with languages, including Norwegian, Dutch, French, Russian, and Marathi, that cannot be readily described according to the traditional bifurcation of anaphors and pronominals as originally assumed in Chomsky’s Binding Theory (1981). Moreover, many of these multiple-reflexive languages join Fijian in presenting intriguing hints of predicate bias, contributing to the hypothesis that factors other than antecedent and domain constraints play a critical role in motivating and constraining the selection of reflexive elements within an utterance.