This article replies to Ackema and Neeleman’s (2018) claim that 1st person singular pronouns are grammatically blocked from having impersonal uses. In connection with this claim, they argue that the impersonal use of German 1st person singular ich described in Zobel 2014 does not exist. I show that Ackema and Neeleman’s alternative analysis of the German data analyzed in Zobel 2014 is flawed, and that new considerations inspired by their proposal further support the claim that German ich has an impersonal use. This result has ramifications not only for Ackema and Neeleman’s account of the morphosyntax and semantics of (impersonally usable) personal pronouns, but also for anyone researching the morphosyntax and semantics of pronominal expressions and how these interact.
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March 25 2022
The Impersonal Use of German 1st Person Singular Ich
Online Issn: 1530-9150
Print Issn: 0024-3892
© 2021 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linguistic Inquiry 1–17.
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Sarah Zobel; The Impersonal Use of German 1st Person Singular Ich. Linguistic Inquiry 2022; doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/ling_a_00446
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