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Authors

Brian Nolan

Abstract

This paper examines reflexive (and reciprocal) constructions in modern Irish, a VSOX language for which the generative analysis using c-command is problematic. Reflexive and reciprocal constructions are best reflected in the inherent VSOX word order. The reflexive occurs in transitive constructions with the reflexive marker féin, which can also be used non-reflexively but emphatically. A continuum is observed with a human/animate participant as the subject argument at the reflexive pole and a nonhuman inanimate at the emphatic end. Motion is an ingredient in reflexivity. Fictive or nontranslational motion are both non-reflexive. Translational motion alone allows reflexivity. Reciprocals are complex in virtue of the set of subject members that have the ability to act upon each other, simultaneously or sequentially. Reciprocity distributes over transitive, but also intransitive constructions using a heavy vs. light marking. Light reciprocals occur in intransitive clauses with lexically reciprocal verbs with the light marker le/a chéile. Heavy reciprocals in transitive clauses are specifically signalled by the marker iad féin in linear word order. The role of event structure and associated situation types has a bearing on our understanding of reflexive and reciprocal constructions with some implications for valency.

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