Person and number in pronouns: A feature-geometric analysis

Heidi Harley, Elizabeth Ritter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

260 Scopus citations


The set of person and number features necessary to characterize the pronominal paradigms of the world's languages is highly constrained, and their interaction is demonstrably systematic. We develop a geometric representation of morphosyntactic features which provides a principled explanation for the observed restrictions on these paradigms. The organization of this geometry represents the grammaticalization of fundamental cognitive categories, such as reference, plurality, and taxonomy. We motivate the geometry through the analysis of pronoun paradigms in a broad range of genetically distinct languages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-526
Number of pages45
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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