Bound variable pronoun
Bound variable pronouns in English
- "Everyone returned to their seats."
Here "everyone" is not an antecedent referring to a specific person but a quantifier, and "they" (appropriately inflected) is not a normal pronoun referring to an antecedent but the equivalent of a bound variable. The sentence corresponds to
- "For all X, X returned to X's seat."
Another example given by Pinker is:
- "Mary saw everyone before John noticed them."
which makes it even clearer that "they" does not refer to an antecedent in the same way as a pronoun does when it refers to a specific person, as is shown if one tries to replace "them" by "him".
- Hendrick, Randall (2005). "Resumptive and bound variable pronouns in Tongan", pages 103–115 in Heinz & Ntelitheos (eds.) UCLA Working Papers in Linguistics 12 [Proceedings of AFLA XII].
- Huang, C.-T. James (1995). "Logical form". Pages 125–240 in Gert Webelhuth (ed.). Government and binding theory and the minimalist program: principles and parameters in syntactic theory. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-18061-3
- Partee, Barbara Hall (1978). "Bound variables and other anaphors". Pages 79–85 in David L. Waltz (ed.). Theoretical issues in natural language processing (TINLAP) 2.
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