Lecture: The binding of German anaphors in a Minimalist Framework
The classic Conditions A and B of Binding theory do not sit well with the current Minimalist approach to grammar, which aspires to eliminate all phenomena-specific concepts and replace them with analyses fully reliant on a small number of generally applicable, independently motivated grammatical principles.
In his dissertation, Glyn Hicks (2009) develops a Minimalist account of anaphoric and pronominal binding, attributing the effects to basic syntactic principles and thus is able to eliminate the binding conditions from the framework. He extends this account to various Germanic languages and their split anaphoric systems, which consist of SE as well as SELF anaphors (e.g. Dutch 'zich' and 'zichzelf').
German, which is not addressed by Hicks, also has two anaphoric elements, 'sich' and 'sich selbst', which differ greatly in their behaviour from every anaphoric inventory analysed in the dissertation (see for example Hendriks et al. 2014). The given system cannot easily account for these data.
I propose that by treating German 'sich' essentially not like a SE, but like a SELF anaphor with regards to syntax, the data can largely be reconciled with Hicks' framework, maintaining Hicks' analysis as a valid Minimalist alternative to previous approaches.
Hendriks, Petra, John C. J. Hoeks & Jennifer Spenader. 2014. Reflexive choice in Dutch and German. The Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 17. 229 - 252.
Hicks, Glyn. 2009. The derivation of anaphoric relations. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.