Binding Conditions


The binding conditions make predictions about coreference based on syntactic structures and can therefore be used as a test of syntactic configurationality. The application of binding conditions yields the predictions below for configurational and non-configurational languages. (Lai, 1998, p. 15)

While Halkomelem has largely been argued as a non-configurational language (Hukari, 1983), Secwepemctsín has evidence supporting it as a configurational language in addition to a non-configurational language (Lai, 1998).


Binding ConditionsDescription
Condition AAn anaphor must be bound in a local domain.
Condition BA pronoun must be free in a local domain.
Condition CAn R-expression must be free.
Examples of Binding Conditions and their Description (Lai, 1998, p. 14)
Configurational LanguageFlat (Non-Configurational) Language
Maryi likes heri fatherMaryi likes heri father
Mary’si father likes heri*Mary’si father likes heri
Heri father likes MaryiHeri father likes Maryi
*Shei likes Mary’si father*Shei likes Mary’si father
Examples of Binding Predictions for Configurational and Flat (Non-Configurational) Languages (Lai, 1998, p. 15)


Hukari, T. E. (1983). Halkomelm and configuration. ICSNL, 18, 214-238.

Lai, I. S. (1998). The grammar and acquisition of Secwepemctsín independent pronouns. [Master’s thesis, The University of British Columbia].