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Impossible Persons - MIT Press Scholarship Online
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Impossible Persons

Daniel Harbour


Personal reference, one of the simplest functions of human language, presents linguistic theory with one of its most basic problems: what is the range of possible person systems, and why? Impossible Persons offers an innovative and parsimonious solution to this problem and, in the process, formulates a fresh understanding of what features are in linguistic theory. Shifting the empirical focus away from syncretism towards more abstract partitions, the book shows that person and spatial deixis alike exploit the same small number of partitions, with a much greater number unattested in both domain ... More

Keywords: linguistics, morphology, semantics, typology, pronouns, person, space (spatial deixis), number

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780262034739
Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017 DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262034739.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Daniel Harbour, author
Queen Mary University of London