PhD defense Quy Ngoc Thi Doàn: Anaphoric dependencies in Vietnamese

Een Vietnamese vrouw leest de krant ©

On 9 September, Quy Ngoc Thi Doàn will defend her thesis 'Anaphoric Dependencies in Vietnamese: A Syntactic Approach'. 

Anaphoric dependencies

Thi Doàn aims to provide a detailed analysis of anaphoric dependencies in Vietnamese, with, right from the start, a focus on theoretical puzzles and phenomena that contribute to our understanding of this particular language and of language in general.

To achieve this goal, Thi Doàn investigated the inventory of anaphoric expressions, the expression of reflexivity, the syntactic representation of non-local anaphoric dependencies and the restrictions these dependencies are subject to.

The anaphoric element mình

Prima facie the binding patterns in Vietnamese look rather different from the patterns in languages like English. In addition to pronominal elements and an anaphoric element mình, also proper names and common noun expressions such as kinship terms and status terms show pronominal characteristics. Honorificity features appear to play a much more significant role in the language.

While mình can be non-locally bound, for coargument binding it requires the element tự, just like other pronoun-type elements, reflecting the cross-linguistic pattern that reflexivity must be licensed.

In addition, mình can virtually always be interpreted as the speaker in the absence of an overt first person antecedent. Non-local binding of mình is subject to a blocking effect that at first sight may seem similar to the blocking effect in Mandarin Chinese but is rather different in detail.

The unification of language

With all the similarities and differences the Vietnamese anaphoric system possesses in comparison to other languages, Thi Doàn shows that it can be unified into the world of anaphors and reflexives and successfully accounted for by a Multiple-Agree based approach to anaphor binding.

Start date and time
End date and time
Hybrid: online and for invited guests in the Utrecht University Hall
PhD candidate
Quy Ngoc Thi Doàn
Anaphoric Dependencies in Vietnamese: A Syntactic Approach
PhD supervisor(s)
Prof. M.B.H. Everaert
Prof. E.J. Reuland
More information
Full text via Utrecht University Repository