Logophoricity is a phenomenon of binding relation that may employ a morphologically different set of anaphoric forms, in the context where the referent is an entity whose speech, thoughts, or feelings are being reported.[1] This entity may or may not be distant from the discourse, but the referent must reside in a clause external to the one in which the logophor resides. The specially-formed anaphors that are morphologically distinct from the typical pronouns of a language are known as logophoric pronouns, originally coined by the linguist Claude Hagège.[2] The linguistic importance of logophoricity is its capability to do away with ambiguity as to who is being referred to.[1][3] A crucial element of logophoricity is the logophoric context, defined as the environment where use of logophoric pronouns is possible.[4] Several syntactic and semantic accounts have been suggested. While some languages may not be purely logophoric (meaning they do not have logophoric pronouns in their lexicon), logophoric context may still be found in those languages; in those cases, it is common to find that in the place where logophoric pronouns would typically occur, non-clause-bounded reflexive pronouns (or long-distance reflexives) appear instead.[1][2]


Logophoricity is characterized as a binding relation which distinctly co-references a clause-external antecedent with a clause-internal anaphor which, under certain conditions, may surface with different morphological forms.[1] Those morphological forms have been called logophoric pronouns, and, if they occur, they must be used in a clausal environment known as the logophoric context.[4] Although logophoricity may be indicated by the difference in morphology, more importantly, it is marked by the logophoric context. Meanwhile, logophoric context does not necessitate the occurrence of logophoric pronouns.[4] Logophoric pronouns may not exist in the lexicon of some languages, but in those languages, elements of logophoricity may still occur underlyingly in the form of logophoric contexts. Notably, linguists have discovered that in those cases, non-clause-bounded reflexive pronouns (or long-distance reflexives) are often found in place of logophoric pronouns.[1][4] While it is often the case that the referent of the logophor is situated in the matrix clause while the logophor itself resides in the subordinate clause, a logophoric referent does not necessarily need to stay within the same complex sentence as the logophor. A logophor may refer to an entity mentioned beyond that sentence, such as earlier in a paragraph or anywhere in the discourse.[3]

Other terms commonly used include logophoric markers/logophoric markings, which many later researchers preferred to use; it was found that the distinction between simply logophoric pronouns and reflexive anaphora in logophoric context was not sufficient. This is because logophoricity may manifest under different conditions cross-linguistically,[1][4][3] which entails more than simply whether a language employs explicit logophoric markers or not. While it is common for a language with a logophoric system to employ logophoric pronouns, this does not mean explicit logophoric markers consist only of logophoric pronouns. For instance, a logophoric marker may surface as an affix – a morphological change is still present, but not all purely logophoric languages have logophoric pronouns.[4]

In terms of the role of logophoricity in languages, the existence of logophoric markers allow for the reduction of referential ambiguity.[3] For instance, him in English may be used in a logophoric context, but cannot be called a logophor. In a context such as the one below, there is ambiguity as to who the pronoun him is referring to:

a. Mr. Smithi said that Lucy had insulted himi. 

b. Mr. Smithi said that Lucy had insulted himj.[1]

In the first example, the pronoun him references the subject, Mr. Smith, whose speech is being reported and who resides in the matrix clause. In the latter example, the pronoun him references some other individual.

Specifically, referential unambiguity is achieved by logophoricity through:

  1. An explicit logophoric marker (such as a logophoric pronoun), which allows for reference tracking (being able to keep track of who/what is being referred to during a discourse[5]), and
  2. An absence of any explicit logophoric marker to any entity that is not the target referent, showing disjoint reference (when an anaphor is deliberately shown not to refer to an entity[6]).

Although according to the originator of the term, logophoric pronouns are considered a type of anaphora,[2] and although it does embody a binding relation with an antecedent, logophoricity cannot be accounted for by Chomsky's Binding Theory as other anaphora may be, because of its necessity to take on the perspective of an individual external to the event, and not the speaker.[4] As such, logophoric contexts occur when anaphors refer to nominals in higher clauses (in other words, not locally);[1] in that situation, the anaphor may either surface as a typical anaphor, an indirect reflexive, or a logophoric pronoun. The matter of indirect reflexives in logophoric contexts in particular, has been much debated.[1][4][2]

While it has been noted that logophoric markers may be used typically when they reside in clauses introduced by verbs that reflect speech, thought, and feelings, there are no universal syntactic conditions for logophors.[1] However, there is semantic commonality across languages; the introduction of logophors through mainly verbs of saying or reporting is cross-linguistic. Even so, many languages may extend their lexicon of logocentric verbs. In every language, the lexicon of logocentric verbs is determined semantically; clauses that contain logophoric markers are mainly introduced by verbs of saying and reporting, while logophoric contexts may also be introduced by verbs depicting mental or psychological state.[4]

Stirling provided a logocentric verb hierarchy:

Communication > Thought > Psychological State > Perception[4]

If a verb of a certain semantic category in a language is shown to trigger a logophoric context, then from its spot on the hierarchy, it and all the verb kinds to its left will also trigger a logophoric context.[4]



The coinage of the term logophoric pronouns (also called logophors) came from Claude Hagège. Through the study of certain languages from the Niger-Congo family (such as Mundang, Tuburi, and Ewe), Hagège discovered a distinct set of pronouns being used to refer to an external, secondary speaker, rather than the primary speaker. Moreover, Hagège studied indirect reflexives (also called long-distance reflexives, non-clause-bounded reflexive pronouns,[4] or free anaphors[2] in later research) in Latin and Japanese, and noted that the African set of pronouns were also morphologically different from those reflexives, even though they were similar in function – both types of anaphors were used to refer to an individual other than the speaker currently relaying the information. Thus, he declared that those pronouns, while seemingly related to indirect reflexives, were a separate phenomenon, and gave them the name logophors. Subsequently, he concluded that logophors were a subcategory of anaphora (of the broad, traditional sense). Hagège was the first of many, many following researchers to make the comparison between indirect reflexives and logophors, and to figure out how to differentiate them.

While the concept of logophoricity originated from Hagège's work, he explicitly focuses on logophoric pronouns, and how they may differ from indirect reflexives. George N. Clements' research, a year later, is considered an extension of Hagège's initial work, and gives a more expanded account of logophoricity, including going into more detail about the difference between indirect reflexives and logophoric pronouns. Clements, in his work, talked about logophoric pronouns as well, but he also went further and helped to provide a more cohesive concept of logophoricity as a general phenomenon. This allowed many other linguists to build on his account in the future.

According to Clements, logophoric pronouns are morphologically distinct from personal and reflexive pronouns[1] as well, in addition to indirect reflexives. He delved into the concept Hagège posited that there are two different perspectives that may be referred to: the actual speaker of the discourse, or someone else whose speech, thoughts, or feelings are being reported. The latter perspective is used for an individual who maintains a distance from the events being reported.[1][4] This distinction in perspective may lead the anaphor of a clause, in some languages, to take on different morphological forms – in other words, if meant to depict the perspective of an individual whose speech, thoughts, and feelings are reported, then languages like the one studied by Clements – Ewe[1] – will have logophoric pronouns to explicitly refer to that individual, and no other possible person. These were the basic characteristics of logophoricity, which served as an important foundation for future research in the field. However, Clements did not provide much discussion on the semantic and pragmatic aspects of logophoricity.[2]

Cross-linguistic variation

Notably, Lesley Stirling, in 1993, found it important to clarify that a language having explicit logophoric markers is not equivalent to having logophoric pronouns.[4] In her writing, she gave Gokana as an example. In Gokana, there is no full, entirely morphologically distinct word to depict logophoricity. Instead, a logophoric marker is suffixed to the verb, while the ordinary pronoun would be left as is. This is possible as, besides Gokana's semantic and structural restrictions on where logophoricity appears, logophoric markers, when they do occur in a clause, may take on any grammatical function (subject, object, etc.). With that said, grammatical function also differs from language to language – in contrast to Gokana, some allow logophoric markers to take on only one role.[4] In all languages with a logophoric system, however, it remains true that some change in morphology is used to distinguish between logophoric forms and personal and reflexive pronouns. Stirling also provided more semantic background on logophoricity by pointing out the role semantics had in choosing which verbs could trigger logophoric contexts. Describing them as logocentric verbs, he developed a hierarchy as a guide to which types of verbs languages may employ as logocentric verbs.

Syntactic restrictions on logophoric contexts

In 2001, Gerrit J. Dimmendaal discussed the syntactic constraints on logophoric contexts which had been posited by linguists; it was widely assumed that whether a context was logophoric or not depended mainly on where the domain of the logophoric marker was within the boundaries of the complex sentence that contained it. Saying that the logophoric marker and its referent must occur within a single complex sentence implies that any potential logophoric reference must reside either within the root clause or the external clause. At the time, this constraint was not questioned, and it was assumed that as long as a language employs distinct pronouns that corefer with an entity in an adjacent clause, then it meant that the language has logophoric markers. Dimmendaal argues that this provides an incomplete account of logophoricity, and shows that, as long as reference tracking is made clear, environments for logophoric marking go well beyond bi-clausal contexts, and may extend to the paragraph, or even to the entire discourse.[3]

Indirect reflexivization

A problem discussed by Clements, and several later linguists[4][2] as well, was the matter of indirect reflexives. Given the nature of logophoricity and its ability to reference a subject external to the clause which contains the pronoun, linguists have posited logophoricity as an exceptional case to Chomsky's Binding Theory, as it does not need to follow the same conditions as typically-occurring anaphors. A riddle first put forward by Hagège[2] was once again put into question at this point:

Stirling described the situation as such: linguists had found it strange that certain pronouns were being used in the same strict conditions as logophoric pronouns are typically employed under, both semantically and structurally; yet, these pronouns were not logophoric pronouns – they were simply what those languages used respectively as reflexive pronouns, but specifically with clause-external antecedents.[4] Because reflexives must be bound within their domain (Condition A of Binding Theory), long-distance reflexives such as those found in Latin, Greek, and Japanese[1] should not be able to occur in a logophoric context.

Clements, when tackling this problem, had been working with Latin and Classical Greek, both of which have a logophoric use of reflexive pronouns. The problem arisen from the discussion about indirect reflexivization in these two languages was whether or not the referent (the subject) of that indirect reflexive needed to be positioned within the same clause as the indirect reflexive on the surface, or whether it only needed to be deep in the structure. This problem was known as the subjecthood condition. It was later decided that the indirect reflexives in Latin and Greek have a homophonous counterpart, which was functionally the same as Ewe's logophoric pronouns.[1]

In 2006, Eric Reuland, in his review of Mira Ariel's work on NP antecedents, proposed another explanation: he stated that long-distance reflexives could be said to have logophoric interpretation due to the fact that in some languages and under some circumstances, syntactic binding may not be a necessity. In other words, syntactic binding is not a universal requirement and logophoricity is not the sole exception to the Binding Theory. Reuland focused on the concept that not abiding to binding conditions was not, in fact, an oddity; it only seemed so because so many languages do actually work under the strict conditions of binding. However, whether or not binding is required depends on some conditions. The more prominent an antecedent has been throughout a discourse, the more accessible it is; as such, Reuland based his reasoning for long-distance reflexives in logophoric interpretations on Ariel's prediction that whether a pronoun or reflexive may be used in a sentence, it depended not on the binding conditions, but on the accessibility of the antecedent. For instance, reflexives require higher accessibility than pronouns, so as long as the desired referent has been prominent enough in the discourse, a reflexive may be used in the sentence, regardless of binding.[2]

Logophoric representation in languages

Logophoric languages

Logophoric pronouns


Ewe is a language of the Niger-Congo family that exhibits formally distinct logophoric pronouns.[2] The third-person singular pronoun is used only in the context of indirect discourse, e.g. when reporting speech and not quoting it.[1] These special forms are a means of unambiguously identifying the nominal co-referent in a given sentence.[1] In the following examples, (a) contains the logophoric pronoun , while (b) contains the normal third-person pronoun e. Which pronoun is used determines whether the pronoun refers to the speaker of the proposition (Kofi) or a different individual.

a. Kofi be  -dzo
        say LOG-leave
  'Kofii said that hei left.'

b. Kofi be  e-dzo
        say pro-leave
  'Kofii said that he/shej left.'[1]
Adapted from Clements (1972), this tree diagram for example (1) illustrates the different co-reference possibilities for a logophoric pronoun versus a normal pronoun.

The syntax tree shows that the antecedent and logophoric pronoun in (a) are co-referential across a clausal boundary. Notably, logophoric pronouns such as may occur at any level of embedding within the same sentence. Additionally, if the antecdent is already established previously within the disourse, the antecedent with which the logophoric pronoun has a coreference relation need not be in the same sentence.[1]

The semantic condition imposed on the use of these logophors is that the context in which they appear must be reflective of another individual's perception, and not the speaker's subjective account of the linguistic content being transmitted;[1] however, a purely semantic account is insufficient in determining where logophoric pronouns may appear. More specifically, even when the semantic conditions which license the use of logophors are satisfied, there may be additional syntactic conditions which determine whether or not logophoric pronouns actually occur in a sentence.[1] Clements demonstrates that Ewe logophoric pronouns may only be introduced by clauses headed by the complementizer be. In Ewe, be is a clause-typing element that introduces clauses in which the feelings, thoughts, and perspective of an individual other than the speaker are communicated.[1] Thus, although it is primarily the discursive context which licenses the use of logophoric pronouns in Ewe, syntactic restrictions are also important in determining the distribution of pronouns in direct and indirect discourse.[1]

This tree shows how the logophoric pronoun, mɔ̰̄, and third-person pronoun, à̰, can occupy the same space in the same sentence, yet refer to different individuals.

In Wan, a language spoken primarily in the Ivory Coast, the logophoric pronouns ɓā (singular) and mɔ̰̄ (plural) are used to indicate the speech of those who are introduced in the preceding clause. These logophoric pronouns occur with verbs which denote mental activities and psychological states and are used especially often for instances of reported speech. These verbs typically require that the person undergoing the activities and states to be referred to with a logophoric pronoun.[7]

a. yrā̠mū    é   gé   mɔ̰̄  súglù  é   lɔ̄
   children DEF said LOG.PL manioc DEF ate
   'The childreni said theyi had eaten the manioc.'

b. yrā̠mū    é   gé   à̰   súglù  é   lɔ̄
   children DEF said 3PL manioc DEF ate
   'The childreni said theyj had eaten the manioc.'[7]

In Wan, there is no distinction between use of the logophoric pronouns for second and third person, but the logophoric pronouns cannot be used to refer to the current speaker and instead, a first person pronoun is used. Logophoric pronouns occupy the same syntactic positions as personal pronouns. They can occur as subjects, objects, possessors, etc.

In casual conversation, use of the perfect form of the verb when presenting speech is often associated with logophoricity as it implies that the event is relevant to the reported situation and consequently, suggests that the current speaker is involved. In cases where the current speaker participates in the reported situation, logophoricity helps to distinguish the current speaker from characters within the situation. However, ambiguity arises because logophoric pronouns are used for both characters, so while they are distinguished from the current speaker, they are not distinguished from each other. This suggests that logophoric pronouns are not used to mark coreference.[7]

è   gé   kólì má̰, klá̰  gé   dóō     ɓāā     nɛ̰́   kpái  gā   ɔ̄ŋ́   kpū  wiá   ɓā    lāgá
3SG said lie  be   hyena said QUOT LOG.SG.ALN child exact went wood piece enter LOG.SG mouth
'Hei said: It's not true. Hyenaj said myi,LOG own child went to enter a piece of wood in hisj,LOG mouth.'
(Alterative interpretation: 'Hisj,LOG own child went to enter a piece of wood in myi,LOG mouth.')[7]

Abe, a Kwa language spoken in the Ivory Coast, has two classes of third-person pronouns: o-pronouns and n-pronouns. O-pronouns would be the equivalent of pronouns in English while n-pronouns would be the equivalent of the 'referential use of pronouns in English (ie. a logophoric pronoun).'[8] O-pronouns abide by Principle B of Binding Theory in that it can not be co-indexed with the c-commanding NP. However, if the o-pronoun is in subject position of the subjunctive complement and embedded within kO-complements (i.e. a complement that causes logophoric effects), the pronouns exhibit the same contrast as languages that have logophoric pronouns.[8] In particular, o-pronouns must be disjoint from the matrix subject, and n-pronouns are used as logophoric pronouns to express coreference with the speaker.

A syntax tree showing the derivation of the sentence 'Yapi said that he is handsome'.
Adapted from Koopman and Sportiche (1989), illustrating the possible referential patterns of o-pronouns and n-pronouns in logophoric contexts.

In Abe, while all logophoric verbs are verbs of saying, logophoric effects are only seen with verbs taking a kO-complement.[8] As the example below shows, both ka 'tell' and hE 'said' are verbs of saying, but only the latter introduces a kO-complement. As shown in (a), in the absence of a kO-complement, both o-pronouns and n-pronouns can be co-indexed the matrix subject. But when a kO-complement is present, as in (b), then n-pronouns are used as logophoric pronouns to refer back to the speaker.

a. yapii ka   api ye Oi,j/n(i),j ye sE
   Yapi  tell Api ye he       is handsome
   'Yapii told Api that hei,j is handsome.'

b. yapii hE   kO Oj/ni,(j) ye sE
   Yapi  said kO he      is handsome
   'Yapii said that hej/i,(j) is handsome.'[8]

However, logophoricity is observed only within a subset of kO-complements . In the following example, there are no effects of logophoricity, as the pronouns behave normally. Koopman and Sportiche (1989) suggests that the distinction between (b) above and (a) below is dependent on the discourse role Source.

a. m hE      apii kO Oi,j/ni, j ye sE
   I said to Api  kO she      is handsome.
   'I said to Apii that shei,j is handsome.'[8]

Verbal markings of logophoricity

Logophoricity may also be marked through verbal morphology. This can occur either in isolation from logophoric pronouns or in conjunction with them. There are three types of verbal logophoricity: logophoric cross-referencing, first person logophoricity, and logophoric verb affixes.[9]

The affix indicating person, à, in the embedded clause and the affix indicating logophoricity, mə, can occupy the same syntactic position, yet they refer to different individuals.

Akɔɔse, a Bantu language spoken in Nigeria, uses logophoric cross-referencing. This language has a distinct verbal prefix used in subordinate clauses to indicate if the subject of the subordinate clause is coreferential with the subject of the matrix clause. In Akɔɔse, this kind of cross-referencing can only occur when the subject of the matrix clause is second- or third-person singular. This is a specific verbal prefix marking for logophoricity that is separate from the other verbal prefixes that Akɔɔse uses to indicate person and number for human subjects.

The prefix mə́- in Akɔɔse attaches to the verb to indicate that the subject of the subordinate clause is coreferential with the subject of the matrix clause.

a. à-hɔbé  ǎ  á-kàg
   he-said RP he-should.go
   'Hei said that hej (someone else) should go'

b. à-hɔbé  ǎ  mə-kàg
   he-said RP LOG-should.go
   'Hei said that hei (himself) should go'[10]

It is important to note that not all cross-referencing utilizes the same properties. In Akɔɔse, logophoric cross-referencing occurs without logophoric pronouns. Other languages, such as Logo, Kaliko, and Moru, may have both logophoric cross-referencing and logophoric pronouns. Languages with a logophoric cross-referencing system will always use it with singular referents and can, but not necessarily, use it with plural referents. Logophoric cross-referencing will also always be used with third person referents and can, but not necessarily, use it with second person referents.[9]

Donno Sɔ

A Dogon language spoken in Mali, Donno Sɔ, uses a first person marking to indicate logophoricity. Donno Sɔ has a system of verbal affixation where finite verbs within matrix clauses can optionally agree in person and number with its subject using suffixes. In subordinate clauses containing a logophoric subject, the verb is obligatorily inflected with a verb suffix which indicates a first person subject.

Oumar [inyemɛ jɛmbɔ paza bolum] miñ tagi 
Oumar LOG sack:DF drop left:1S 1S:OBJ informed 
'Oumarj told me that hej had left without the sack.'[11] 

The use of this verb suffix helps to differentiate between a logophoric context and direct speech. In direct speech, the speaker quotes the original speaker, e.g. 'Oumari told mej, "Ii left without the sack"'. In this case, both the verb suffix and the pronouns referring to the original speaker would be in first person. In some cases where Donno Sɔ omits the subject, the use of this verb suffix to mark logophoricity is the only indication that the subordinate subject refers back to the main subject.

In the case of Donno Sɔ, the language also makes use of a logophoric pronoun, inyemɛ. Not all languages with first person marking of logophoricity also use logophoric pronouns. In Lotuko and Karimojong, first person marking is used, but instead of using a logophoric pronoun, they use a third person subject pronoun.[9]

Adding the logophoric affix to the verb allows for a logophoric interpretation of this sentence.

Gokana is a language of the Benue-Congo family which uses a logophoric verbal affix. In particular, Gokana uses the verbal suffix -EE (which has several phonological conditioned allomorphs) to indicate logophoricity.[9]

a. aè  kɔ  aè dɔ̀
   he said he fell
   'Hei said that hej fell'

b. aè  kɔ  aè  dɔ-ɛ̀
   he said he fell-LOG
   'Hei said that hei fell'[12]

Unlike other logophoric systems (e.g. logophoric pronouns, logophoric cross-referencing), the logophoric verbal suffix is not integrated within a system that marks person. Usually, logophoric marking contrasts with another regular marking indicating person, but in Gokana, the verbal affix only contrasts with its own absence.[9]

Typically, logophoric marking makes clear which argument (i.e. subject, object, possessive) is coreferential. In Gokana, the verbal affix only shows that there is a logophoric element in the subordinate clause which is coreferntial with the matrix subject. This ambiguity is shown in the example below.

lébàreè kɔ  aè div-èè  e
Lebare said he hit-LOG him
'Lebarei said hei hit himj/ Lebarei said hej hit himi'[12]

Since the logophoric marking is not attached to a pronoun but instead the verb, the co-reference relationship becomes unclear. Seeing as the logophoric marker does not indicate which co-reference relationship occurs, this sentence could be interpreted as either Lebare hit someone else, or someone else hit Lebare.

In other logophoric systems where logophoricity is allowed to be used with certain persons (e.g. third person referents), it is necessary to use the appropriate logophoric marker. In Gokana, the logophoric verbal affix is required for third person referents, but not for singular second person referents. In fact, unlike many other logophoric systems, the logophoric verbal affix, although not preferred, can be used with first person referents.[9]

Languages with logophoric contexts

Long-distance reflexive logophors

Long-distance reflexive logophors occurs when the antecedent is outside of the local domain.[13] If binding were to be applied, it would have to cross a subject (which normally would not be possible under the normal circumstances of binding theory. The concept of logophoricity would entail long-distance anaphors as being logophoric.

Logophoric pronoun
First-person pronoun
The Chinese logophoric pronoun ziji and the first-person pronoun wo can occupy the same syntactic position and refer to different individuals.

Liu does not consider Chinese to be a pure logophoric language, but rather contains logophors. Building on Sells' principle of three primitive roles (source, self, and pivot), the logophor ziji is similar to logophor pronouns in that it is "created by triggers such as speech, epistemic, psychological and perceptional verbs.".[14] In Chinese, there are two types of long-range third-person reflexives: simplex and complex. They are ziji and Pr-ziji (pronoun morpheme and ziji), respectively. The relationship between these reflexives and the antecedents is logophoric. The distance between the reflexives and their antecedents can be many clauses and sentences apart demonstrating the long-distance relationship between the logophor and the antecedent.[14]

a. Zhangsani renwei [Lisij kan-bu -qi zijii/j]
   Zhangsan  think  Lisi  look-not-up self
  'Zhangsani thinks Lisij looks down on himi/himselfj.'

b. Wo renwei "ni  bu  yinggai kan-bu-qi  wo."
   I think, "You should not look down on me."[15]

In the example above, (a) shows that the Chinese ziji can be used as a locally bound anaphor, as well as a long-distance logophor.

The second-person pronoun, ni, blocks the long-distance reading of ziji, so it cannot refer to Zhangsan. This is because of differing POV features of Zhangsan and ni.

In Chinese, there exists a blocking effect in which the long-distance reading of ziji is not possible because of a difference in point-of-view (POV) features between ziji and the embedded CP.[15] One of these environments that cause blocking is when the third-person embedded subject in example a is replaced with the first-person or second-person pronoun, as in example c. This replacement restricts the referencing of ziji to only the local antecedent.[15]

c. Zhangsani renwei [nij kan -bu -qi zijij/*i]
   Zhangsan  think   you look-not-up self
   'Zhangsani thinks youj  look down on *himi/yourselfj'[15]

In the example above, ziji can only refer to the second-person pronoun ni, as ziji takes the POV feature of the embedded subject. Here, ni has the second-person POV feature. The POV of the matrix subject is third person, which clashes with the embedded CP subject's POV of second person.

While the logophoric use of Pr-ziji is optional, its primary role is to be an emphatic or intensive expression of pronoun. Emphatic use is shown in example 10. This example shows that substituting the Pr-ziji (here, taziji) for ziji can reduce the emphasis and suggest logophoric referencing[14]

Lao Tong Baoi suiran  bu  hen  jide   zufu    shi zenyang "zuoren", dan fuqin  de  qinjian  zhonghou,tai shi    qinyan
Old Tong Bao although not very recall grandpa be  what sort of man  but father POS diligence honesty he just with his own eyes 
kanjian de; tazijii  ye    shi guiju       ren...
see     POS  himself  also  be  respectable man
'Although Old Tong Baoi couldn't recall what sort of man his grandfather was, hei knew his father had been hardworking and 
honest—he had seen that with his own eyes. Old Tong Bao himselfi was a respectable person;...'[14]

Prior to the first usage of the term "logophor", Susumu Kuno analyzed the licensing of the use of the Japanese reflexive pronoun zibun. The main aspect of zibun that sets it apart from an anaphor are the two characteristics it can portray: reportive or nonreportive styles.[16] Reportive style narratives demonstrates a single point of view, that of the single narrator while nonreportive narratives do not. Instead, there are no narrators present and the narrator can became any individual in the sentence. His analysis focused on the occurrence of this pronoun in discourse in which the internal feeling of someone other than the speaker is being represented.

Zibun in a constituent clause (A) [=a subordinate clause] is coreferential with a noun phrase (B) of the matrix sentence only if A represents an action or state that the referent of B is aware of at the time it takes place or has come to be aware of at some later time.[17]

Kuno argues that one of the factors that permits the usage of zibun is a context in which the individual whom the speaker is referring to is aware of the state or event under discussion – i.e., this individual's perspective must be represented.

a. Johni wa, Mary ga zibuni ni ai ni kuru hi wa, sowasowa site-iru yo.
                            meet  to come days   excited  is
   'John is excited on days when Mary comes to see him.'
  • sentence is considered grammatical because the individual being discussed (John) is aware that Mary comes to see him.
b. *Johni wa, Mary ga zibuni o miru toki wa, itu mo kaoiro ga warui soo da.
                      self     see  when     always complexion bad  I hear.
   'I hear that John looks pale whenever Mary sees him.'[16]
  • sentence is ungrammatical because it is not possible for John to look pale when he is aware that Mary sees him.

As presented above, John's awareness of the event or state being communicated in the embedded sentence determines whether or not the entire sentences is grammatical. Similar to other logophors, the antecedent of the reflexive zibun need not occur in the same sentence or clause, as is the case for non-logophoric reflexives. This is demonstrated in the example above, in which the antecedent in a. occurs in the matrix sentence, while zibun occurs in the embedded clause. Although traditionally referred to as "indirect reflexives", the logophoric usage of pronouns such as zibun are also referred to as long-distance, or free anaphors.[18]

The difference between zibun and kare (him), a normal anaphor in Japanese, is shown below:[19]

a. Johni-wa [kare/zibuni-o    korosoo-to-sita] sono otoko-to mae-ni atta koto-ga atta.
        -top  he/self   -acc   kill     -tried the  man-with before had  met 
   'Johni had before met the man who tried to kill him/selfi'
  • implies that John knows that someone is trying to kill him
b. Johni-wa [kare/*zibuni-o   korosita] sono otoko-to    mae-ni atta koto-ga atta.
        -top  he/ self  -acc   killed   the   man-with before   had  met
   'Johni had met before the man who killed him/*selfi
  • John has no implication that someone is trying to kill him
  • zibun is ungrammatical since John could not have been aware of being killed

In line with Clements' characterization of indirect reflexives, the logophoric pronoun is homophonous with the (non-logophoric) reflexive pronoun.[1] Kuno later explicitly described Japanese as a language which permits the use of the reflexive pronouns for logophoric purposes. He argued that zibun is marked with a [+logo-1] symbol when it is associated with a noun phrase (NP) whose experience or perspective is represented in a proposition. It is this marking that distinguishes the non-logophoric use of zibun from its logophoric use.[16] He also noted that the logophoric use of zibun is a particular instance of its use as an empathy expression in Japanese,[16] which is demonstrated in example 11) above. More specifically, the clause that contains the logophoric pronoun zibun expresses a statement made by a logophoric NP in the matrix clause, or a feeling attributed to that entity. Thus, in Japanese, as in other languages exhibiting logophoricity, a logophoric pronoun may be introduced by a verb of saying or thinking in a complement clause.[16]


In Icelandic, the same reflexive forms are used as both obligatory clause-bound anaphors and as logophoric pronouns. The reflexives can bind with antecedents across multiple clause boundaries, exhibiting the effect of non-clause-bounded reflexives (NCBR).[20]

Formaðurinni varð   óskaplega reiður. Tillagan    væri       avívirðileg og  væri      henni beint gegn    séri persónulega.
The-chairman became furiously angry. The-proposal was(subj.) outrageous  and was(subj) it    aimed against self personally.
'The chairmani became furiously angry. The proposal was outrageous, and it was aimed against him(self)i personally.'[4]
A syntax tree showing the derivation of the sentence 'Jon knows that Maria loves him'.
Adapted from Maling (1984), showing that the reflexive cannot bind with an antecedent outside a clause that is not in subjunctive mood.

The distribution of NCBR correlates with the grammatical mood. Specifically, the binding of the reflexive can only cross clauses of subjunctive mood, the second sentence of the example below.[20] NCBR is prohibited across indicative mood as shown in 14a. below.

a. *Joni veit  að María   elskar      sigi
   John  knows that Maria loves(ind.) REFL
   'Johni knows that Maria loves himi.'
b. Joni segir að María elski sigi John says that Maria loves(subj.) REFL 'Johni says that Maria loves himi.'[20]
A syntax tree showing the derivation of the sentence 'Jon says that Haraldur knows that Sigga loves him'.
Adapted from Maling (1984), illustrating the 'trickling down' effect of subjunctive mood such as embedding clauses under segja.

When a verb selects a subjunctive complement, the subjunctive mood is not limited to that single clause. If the (structurally) higher verb takes a subjunctive complement, then the subjunctive mood can "trickle down" to the bottom of the tree, even if the intervening verbs often take indicative complements.[20] Example 14) below illustrates this effect. When the indicative clause veit 'know' is embedded under a verb like segja 'say', the subjunctive mood trickles down and allows the reflexive to bind with the matrix subject.

Subjunctive mood is the mood typically used for indirect discourse and reportive contexts that reflect an individual's point of view.[20] By allowing the reflexive to bind with the speaker, the combination of NCBR and the "trickling" effect of subjunctive mood captures the property of logophoric pronouns.

Jóni segir      að   Haraldurj viti         að   Sigga.
Jon says(subj.) that Haraldur knows(subj.) that Sigga
elski        sigi,j
loves(subj.) REFL
'Joni says that Haraldurj knows that Sigga loves himi,j.'[20]

Syntactic accounts

There has been much discussion in linguistic literature on the type of approach that would best account for logophoricity. Syntactic accounts have been attempted within the context of Government and binding theory.[4] More specifically, Binding Theory organizes nominal expressions into three groups: (i) anaphors, (ii) pronominals, and (iii) R-expressions. The distribution and grammaticality of these are governed by Conditions A, B, and C[21]

Condition A: An anaphor must be bound within its domain; that is, it must be c-commanded by its co-referent antecedent. An element's 
             domain is the nearest maximal projection (XP) with a specifier.
Condition B: A pronoun must be free within its domain.
Condition C: R-expressions must be free.

Anaphors are not referential in and of themselves; they must be co-indexed to an antecedent. Problems arise when the antecedent falls outside the anaphor's local domain, occurring inside the same sentence or even in a previous one. Minkoff argues that logophors therefore form a special class of anaphors that may be linked to a referent outside their projected domain, categorizing them as a particular subset of anaphora that refer to the "source of a discourse" - i.e., the original (secondary) speaker, not the messenger relaying the information.[22] Alternatively, Stirling (1993) contends that logophors are not anaphors at all, as they violate Condition A of Binding Theory with their lack of a c-commanding relationship to the antecedent. In relation to this, logophors and long-distance reflexives can be found in overlapping contexts with non-logophoric personal pronouns; they are not in complementary distribution with pronouns as anaphors are. Logophors also fail to satisfy Condition B, as they necessarily have antecedents and so are not referentially free within their domain - thus, they are not true pronominals, based on this condition.[4]

Stirling (1993) also points out that although certain syntactic constraints influence the distribution of logophoric forms (such as requiring that an antecedent be a grammatical subject[16]), syntactic binding is not crucial, nor sufficient, to explain the mechanism behind this.[4] For example, a logophoric antecedent is often restricted to the semantic role of "source" in a discourse, or the semantic role of "experiencer" of a state of mind. Additionally, whether or not a logophoric form may be used may also be contingent on the lexical semantics of the verb in the matrix clause. There have been attempts to move beyond a solely syntactic approach in recent literature.

Koster's (1984) Free anaphors and opacity

Koster attempts to define logophors as a continuation of the concept of anaphors. Free or long-distance anaphors are able to take an antecedent beyond their domain subject; logophors can commonly be found in this situation. Three scenarios may allow these kinds of exceptions: (i) if the logophor is properly bound (e.g. c-commanded and co-indexed) by an antecedent outside its local domain; (ii) if accurately interpreted by an antecedent that does not c-command; or (iii) if accurately interpreted without an explicitly stated antecedent[23] These lead to an extended version of Condition A that applies more generally to locality:[23]

The dependent element (logophor) L is linked to an antecedent A if and only if A is contained within B, as in
                ... [B ... w ... L ...] ...
in which B is the minimal category containing A, L, and opacity factor w

Under this interpretation, domain is no longer limited to the maximal projection of the logophor. The opacity factor (w) is best described as a variable that takes a different value for different types of dependent elements (L); its role is to delineate domains with respect to category heads (V, N, A, or P). Koster gives the following example as illustration:

... V [PP P NP]
Koopman and Sportiche (1989) proposes that "kO" is not a complementizer, but instead is its own verb and taking a sentential complement.

Koster explains that P is the opacity factor, as head of the maximal projection PP, and "blocks" V from governing NP. Instead, the locality domain that governs NP is the maximal projection of its phrasal head—PP.

Koopman and Sportiche's (1989) logical variables

Koopman and Sportiche propose that logophoric pronouns are pronouns treated as logical variables and they yield logophoric effects in certain syntactic contexts.[8] This analysis is based on Abe which, like many West African languages, has verbal complementizers that introduce certain types of clauses.

One of the major differences between the two classes of pronouns in Abe is that o-pronouns cannot be coindexed with a c-commanding antecedent that is a n-pronoun, regardless of the degree of embedding. This can be accounted for if the n-pronoun is not a referential element, but instead is a logical variable. It would then be expected that there exists an operator in complementizer which binds it.[8] Another generalization found is that n-anaphors cannot have an o-pronoun antecedent, and vice versa. This can be captured by distinguishing the two pronouns by some feature like [+/-n]. If o-pronouns are [-n] and n-pronouns are [+n], these two can never be bound to each other. Binding would require the anaphor and the antecedent to be matching in feature (a parallel analogy would be the feature gender).

The logophoric effects can be accounted for by analyzing the complementizer kO as a verb taking a sentential phrase as its complement and a [+n] silent subject as its specifier.[8] A schematic tree is given on the right. The silent subject receives the theta-role that the verb 'say' assigns to its subject, and the feature [+n] will force binding with n-pronouns. As a result, n-pronouns display the binding distribution observed with logophoric pronouns.

Minkoff's (2004) Principle E

Since logophors cannot be entirely accounted for given the conditions of canonical binding theory,[4] modifications to this theory have been posited. For example, Minkoff suggests that logophoricity requires a new principle to be added to the set of conditions held by Binding Theory.[22] He proposes Principle E which is stated thus:

Node X is in the backward co-reference domain of node Y if there are two further nodes, A and B, such that A predicates B, A dominates X, and B dominates Y.
Principle E: A free SELF-anaphor must co-refer with, and be in the backward co-reference domain of, a Protagonist[22]

The backward co-reference domain is a specification of the general concept of domain found in binding theory. For anaphors, domain is defined as the smallest XP node in a tree with a subject that contains the DP.[24] Backward co-reference domain dictates that node X is in the backward co-reference domain of node Y if there are two further nodes, A and B, such that A predicates B, A dominates X, and B dominates Y.[22] This specification is meant to account for cases where self-anaphors are free and possess consciousness, but are still unacceptable. Minkoff addresses the two crucial differences his Principle E holds with binding theory. First it operates distinctly in the backward co-reference domain, rather than the more general operation of c-command.This means that it operates in terms of both syntax and semantics, where c-command uses only syntactic relations. Second, it is also sensitive to the attribution of consciousness, unlike the syntax-specific binding theory.[22] Minkoff takes the ideas of source, self, and pivot from Sells' argument of logophoricity and argues that instead of these accounts, there is a protagonist. If he were to take these accounts, then Principle E would not demonstrate logophoricity because it would fail to account for situations when the phrase is logophoric but does not convey thoughts and feelings of a separate entity.

Semantic accounts

Discourse representation theory

Sells' (1987) account[25]

Peter Sells introduced a semantic account of logophoricity using Discourse Representation Structure (DRS) that was first developed by Hans Kamp in 1981. Sells argues that rather than languages having logophoricity, the antecedent linked to the logophor is linked to three primitive roles. The three roles that affect this context are three semantic roles: the source, the self and the pivot. Logophoricity would then consist of a logophoric pronoun linked to a NP that plays one of those three roles. It may be the case that all three roles are assigned to one NP, such as the subject of the main verb. The logophor would then be portraying speech, thoughts, attitudes or the point of view of the individual being reported.

Thematic Role Definition
The SOURCE the speaker; the one who makes the report; the individual who is the intentional communicator
The SELF the one whose "mind" is being reported' the individual whose perspective is being reported
The PIVOT the one from whose point of view the report is being made; the individual who is the deictic center of the discourse

(ie. the one from whose physical perspective of the report is being evaluated)

Unlike normal anaphors which must be bound to its antecedent within its domain (Condition A of Chomsky's Binding Theory), this approach allows for the possibility of binding between an antecedent and a logophor within the same sentence or across sentences within a discourse. The environment where logophoricity occurs is as listed below:

Discourse Environments
Direct Speech 3POV Psych-verb "Logophoric" verb
SOURCE external external external internal
SELF external external internal internal
PIVOT external internal internal internal
  • Direct speech would imply a normal setting.
  • 3POV occurs when the 'pivot' role refers to an individual other than the speaker.
  • Psych-verb (psychological verbs) describes a case when the speaker is the source rather than the internal protagonist and holds 'self' and 'pivot' roles.
  • Logophoric verbs occurs when the speaker is identifying as an internal protagonist.[4]

Using this table, Sells argues that there is hierarchy between the roles. For example, if the self is internal then so must the pivot be as well. The same goes for the self is the source is internal. Internal refers to someone within the sentence while external refers to someone outside of the sentence.

There are two main components of DRS:

  1. set of (reference) markers
  2. set of conditions regarding the reference markers

The predicates which correspond to these primitives are represented by Discourse Markers (DMs). In Sell's examples, he adds a marker S to indicate the external speaker. u stands for individuals while p stands for propositions. The inner box are the truth conditions of proposition p. He also imposes a condition that the DMs associated with a primitive predicate are able to be anaphorically related to other referents in the discourse.

An example of this can be seen in Japanese where the logophoric pronoun refers back to an internal subject in the sentence.

Sells' (1987) DRS for the Japanese sentence: 'Tarooi said that Yosiko loved selfi.'
Tarooi wa Yoshiko ga zibuni o aisiteiru to-itta.
Taroo said that Yoshiko loved self

Since Taroo is the individual who is intentionally communicating the fact that Yosiko loved him (him being Taroo), he is the source. Taroo is also the self, as it is his perspective being reported. Finally, Taroo is the pivot too, for it is from his location that the content of the report is being evaluated.

In the DRS for Sentence 15: S stands for the external speaker, u stands for a predicate (in this example, Taroo), and p stands for a proposition. The inner box contains the content of the proposition, which is that Yosiko (a predicate of the embedded clause, marked with v) loved Taroo (which is another predicate, but marked with z). As can be inferred by the diagram, z is assigned the role of pivot, which corresponds to the NP Taroo.

Stirling's (1993) account

Following from Peter Sells' account, Stirling argued that there may not be a need for three primitive roles to explain logophoricity. In fact, logophoric phenomena can be explained by introducing only one semantic role into DRS: the assigned epistemic validator (or more briefly, validator). The role of validator is associated with the individual who is responsible for validating the content of what is being reported. This semantic role is assigned the DM v. Similarly to Sells, Stirling argues that once this primitive is within the bounds of a DRS, it is free to be anaphorically related to other NPs in the discourse.[4]

Stirling specifies three possibilities for a speaker in reporting a proposition:

i.   the speaker can assume the role of validator: v = i'
ii.  the speaker can dis-assign themselves from the role of validator: v ≠ i'
iii. the speaker can reassign the role of validator to another individual: v = x

Here, i' is the DM used for the current speaker, and x is the DM associated with some other available NP in the discourse.

According to Stirling, in using just the role of validator, it is possible to generalize across cases which Sells argued necessitates the use of distinct primitives. For example, in contexts in which an individual's point of view is being reported, Sells posited the primitive of source; where a psychological state of an individual is being reported, Sells introduced the role of self. However, Sells argues that differentiating between these two contexts misses an important generalization: it is due to certain lexical properties that logophoric pronouns may be used in both contexts. More specifically, where an NP is a logophoric antecedent, it is typically the subject of a communicative verb in the matrix clause, while the logophoric pronoun occurs in a subordinate clause.[4]

Stirling's (1993) DRS for the Ewe sentences: 'Kofii said that {hei, s/hej} left.'

This account can be used to explain the following examples from Ewe:

a. Kofi  be  yè-dzo
   Kofi say Log-leave
   'Kofii said that hei left.'
b. Kofi  be  e-dzo
   Kofi say Pro-leave
  'Kofii said that s/hej left.'

The above examples are identical save for the logophoric pronoun appearing in the top example and the normal pronoun e appearing in the bottom example.

A DRS representing these sentences follows:

In the DRS For the Ewe sentences, each box represents a separate proposition, and the content of each is understood to have a distinct validator (v1 and v2). For the logophoric sentence, in order to indicate the anaphoric relation between the subject of the matrix sentence (the logophoric antecedent) and the logophoric pronoun, we would need to specify that x = v2 (v2 and x refer to the same referential assignment) In order to interpret the DRS as per the logophoric sentence, we do not need to impose such a condition, as x need not co-refer to this antecedent in the discourse.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Clements, George N. (1975). "The Logophoric Pronoun in Ewe: Its Role in Discourse". Journal of West African Languages. 10 (2): 141–177.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Reuland, Eric (2006). "Chapter 38: Logophoricity". In Everaert, Martin; van Riemsdijk, Henk (eds.). The Blackwell Companion to Syntax. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. pp. 1–20. doi:10.1002/9780470996591.ch38. ISBN 9780470996591.
  3. ^ a b c d e Dimmendaal, Gerrit J. (2001). "Logophoric Marking and Represented Speech in African Languages as Evidential Hedging Strategies". Australian Journal of Linguistics. 21 (1): 131–157. doi:10.1080/07268600120042499.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Stirling, Lesley (1993). "Logophoricity". Switch-reference and discourse representation. Cambridge University Press. pp. 252–307. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511597886.007. ISBN 9780511597886.
  5. ^ Brown, Keith; Miller, Jim (2013). "R". The Cambridge Dictionary of Linguistics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 370–391. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139049412. ISBN 9781139049412.
  6. ^ Lasnik, Howard (1989). "On Two Recent Treatments of Disjoint Reference 1981". Essays on Anaphora. Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. 16. Springer, Dordrecht. pp. 125–133. doi:10.1007/978-94-009-2542-7. ISBN 978-94-009-2542-7.
  7. ^ a b c d Nikitina, Tatiana (2012). "Logophoric discourse and First Person Reporting in Wan (West Africa)". Anthropological Linguistics. 54 (3): 280–301. doi:10.1353/anl.2012.0013.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Koopman, Hilda; Sportiche, Dominique (1989). "Pronouns, Logical Variables, and Logophoricity in Abe". Linguistic Inquiry. 20 (4): 555–588.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Curnow, Timothy J. (2002). "Three Types of Verbal Logophoricity in African Languages". Studies in African Linguistics. 31: 1–26.
  10. ^ Hedinger, Robert (1984). "Reported Speech in Akɔɔse". Studies in African Linguistics. 12 (3): 81–102.
  11. ^ Culy, Christoper (1994). "A note on logophoricity in Dogon". Journal of African Languages and Linguistics. 15: 113–125.
  12. ^ a b Hyman, Larry M.; Comrie, Bernard (1981). "Logophoric Reference in Gokana". Studies in African Linguistics. 3 (3): 19–37. doi:10.1515/jall.1981.3.1.19.
  13. ^ Reuland, Eric (2007). "Binding Theory: Terms and Concepts". The Blackwell Companion to Syntax. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. p. 273. ISBN 9781405114851.
  14. ^ a b c d Liu, Lijin (2012). "Logophoricity, Highlighting and Contrasting: A Pragmatic Study of Third-person Reflexives in Chinese Discourse". English Language and Literature Studies. 2: 69–84. doi:10.5539/ells.v2n1p69.
  15. ^ a b c d Chou, Chao-Ting T. (2012). "Syntax-Pragmatics Interface: Mandarin Chinese Wh-the-hell and Point-of-View Operator". Syntax. 15: 1–24. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9612.2011.00157.x. hdl:2027.42/90269.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Kuno, Susumu (Spring 1972). "Pronominalization, Reflexivization, and Direct Discourse". Linguistic Inquiry. 3 (2): 161–195. JSTOR 4177700.
  17. ^ Kuno, Susumu (1973). The Structure of the Japanese Language. The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0262519281.
  18. ^ Reuland, Eric (2007). "Logophoricity". The Blackwell Companion to Syntax. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1405114851.
  19. ^ Abe, Jun (1997). "The Locality of Zibun and Logophoricity" (PDF). Researching and Verifying an Advanced Theory of Human Language. 1: 595–626.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Maling, Joan (1984). "Non-Clause-Bounded Reflexives in Modern Icelandic". Linguistics and Philosophy. 7 (3): 211–241. doi:10.1007/bf00627706.
  21. ^ Sportiche, Dominique (2014). "Binding and the Hierarchical Nature of Phrase Structure". An Introduction to Syntactic Analysis. Wiley Blackwell. p. 168. ISBN 9781405100175.
  22. ^ a b c d e Minkoff, Seth A. (2004). "Consciousness, Backward Coreference, and Logophoricity". Linguistic Inquiry. 35 (3): 485–494. doi:10.1162/ling.2004.35.3.485.
  23. ^ a b Koster, Jan (1984). "On Binding and Control". Linguistic Inquiry. 15 (3): 417–459.
  24. ^ Sportiche, Dominique; Koopman, Hilda; Stabler, Edward (2014). "Chapter 7: Binding and the Hierarchical Nature of Phrase Structure". An Introduction to Syntactic Analysis. Wiley Blackwell. p. 168. ISBN 9781405100175.
  25. ^ Sells, Peter (1987). "Aspect of Logophoricity". Linguistic Inquiry. 18 (3): 445–479. JSTOR 4178550.

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