Anne Temme, Elisabeth Verhoeven
November 2, 2017
Bound anaphors inside subjects challenge the c-command requirement for binding. At least in some languages, experiencer-object verbs such as worry or please are reported to license this type of backward dependence. In many cases, the underlying facts are based on unstable intuitions potentially influenced by intervening factors, such as accidental coreference and binding illusions. This article reports the results of an experiment on backward binding with accusative and dative experiencer-object verbs in German; in this experiment, crucial sources of variation are controlled. The results show that verb class (experiencer-object vs. agentive) has a significant effect on variable binding, both for dative and for accusative verbs. This result cannot be accounted for through accidental coreference and is not reducible to effects of sentence aspect, the latter being correlated with the distinction between experiencer-object and agentive verbs. These findings are evidence for backward binding as a genuine psych effect in German.