Non-conflicting violations of grammatical constraints? Logophoric reflexives, peculiar passives, and gricean implicatures

Sergio de Moura Menuzzi


This paper discusses the notion of grammatical well-formedness in the light of certain optimality approaches to syntactic phenomena (e.g.,Pesetsky 1998; Grimshaw 1997; Grimshaw & Samek-Lodovici 1995; Costa 1998). Such approaches adhere to assumptions that lead to the following
theorem: a linguistic representation may violate a rammatical constraint and still be well-formed if and only if all other alternative candidates also violate some grammatical constraint. The point the paper makes is: if well-formedness is the theoretical correlate of full acceptability, this theorem
is in trouble. The arguments come from the analysis of two marked constructions of English: logophoric reflexives (Reinhart & Reuland, 1993) and peculiar passives (Davison, 1980). The paper argues that these phenomena
arise as a result of a Gricean implicature triggered by violations of grammatical constraints, and that conversational implicatures cannot be characterized as the result of competition among grammatical constraints.


English Language; English


Copyright (c) 2004 Sergio de Moura Menuzzi

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