Pronominally used demonstrative determiners (d-pronouns) in Hebrew and German can trigger negative appraisal if used for human referents, but only in certain contexts: i) when they do not compete with personal pronouns and ii) when they denote a contextually salient individual. We argue that the distribution of the negative appraisal is best analysed as the result of competition: because d-pronouns are syntactically more complex, their use over personal pronouns has to be justified. We further argue that the N-effect is the result of demoting a referent that could in principle be a discourse participant and hence could be referred to with a personal pronoun to a discourse referent. In other words, the use of the d-pronoun instead of the personal pronoun suggests that the referent is someone we only talk about but we don't talk with.
Proceedings of the 35th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Wm. G. Bennett, Lindsay Hracs, and Dennis Ryan Storoshenko
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