Resuming Reflexives


  • Kleanthes K. Grohmann University of Cologne
  • Liliane Haegeman University of Lille/CNRS



Possessive Doubling, Copy Spell Out, Clausal DP-Hypothesis, Resumption, Norwegian Language, West Flemish Language


In this paper, we offer an analysis for the prenominal possessor doubling construction (PPDC) as it occurs in Germanic, paying particular attention to the differences between Norwegian and West Flemish. Our analysis implements recent theoretical proposals concerning locality relations, the Anti-Locality Hypothesis, the idea that movement not only must not target a position too far away, but it cannot be too close either. Anti-Locality is formulated over derivational sub-domains relevant for the operation Spell Out, so-called Prolific Domains, and the ban on Domain-internal movement is PF-driven. In order to yield a well-formed PF-object, anti-local movement may be repaired by spelling out a copy with a different PF-shape; this operation of Copy Spell Out inserts a grammatical formative to save a PF-violation. We take pronominal elements to be grammatical formatives par excellence and develop an application of this approach to the nominal layer, focusing on the PPDC. This framework derives the occurrence of a possessive pronoun doubling the possessor, which we analyse in terms of an anti-local movement dependency in which the moved possessor spells out a lower copy as the doubling possessive pronoun. We further discuss comparisons across Germanic dialects. Our main proposal is that the doubling pronoun is a resumptive element, understood more generally as a spelled out copy of the (moved) possessor DP and as such inserted into the computation derivationally.