The Universality of the Overt Pronoun Constraint: The Re-analysis of the Turkish Case

ÇINAR O., Cakir S.

AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF LINGUISTICS, vol.39, no.4, pp.463-484, 2019 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 39 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/07268602.2019.1623760
  • Page Numbers: pp.463-484


The study examines the Overt Pronoun Constraint (OPC) in Turkish by collecting data from native speakers of this language through a test which targets the binding relationship between embedded and matrix subjects. The findings show that context plays a crucial role in determining the co-indexation relationship in such structures. Depending on the context, there exists an asymmetry which is in line with the OPC. When the target sentence is interpreted within a context which does not provide a third party to form contrastive focus, the embedded o 's/he' can be co-referential with the referential DP matrix subject. On the other hand, whatever the context is, the embedded o 's/he' cannot be co-referential with a quantified/wh antecedent. These assertions are compatible with the claims of the OPC. In this respect, it would be wrong to claim that the OPC does not hold in Turkish at all. Hence, the present study makes a valuable contribution to the assertion that the OPC is a universal feature which is valid for all null subject languages.