Manual A Theory of Ellipsis

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This monograph presents a theory of ellipsis licensing in terms of Agree and applies it to several elliptical phenomena in both English and Dutch. The author makes two main claims: The head selecting the ellipsis site is checked against the head licensing ellipsis in order for ellipsis to occur, and ellipsis — i. At that point, the ellipsis site becomes inaccessible for further syntactic operations. The analysis also extends to phenomena that do not display such a restricted extraction, such as sluicing, VP ellipsis, and pseudogapping.

Hence, this work is a step towards a unified analysis of ellipsis. No author info given Abels, Klaus Al-Thubaiti, Kholoud A How to Merge a Root. Deep properties of surface pronouns: pronominal predicate anaphors in Norwegian and German. Bruhn de Garavito, Joyce Harwood, William For one, Sluices can occur with wh-words that do not have resumptive counterparts. A second argument comes from languages like Irish which have a resumptive pronoun strategy. These languages have a restriction that the resumptive pronoun cannot be the "highest subject".

No such restriction holds of Sluicing.

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A Theory of Ellipsis

Their analysis base-generates the wh-phrase in CP and assumes that it binds an indefinite NP, which they analyze as variable following Heim and Kamp Merchant points out several problems with this approach, the most significant of which is its inability to account for "contrast" Sluices like the following. While each of the above approaches can account for the lack of island effects in Sluicing none of them except Ross's can account for the form-identity generalizations pointed out in Chapter 3.

Merchant c proposed a version of the Chung et al. For these reasons he ultimately rejects this alternative as well.

A Theory of Ellipsis

The fifth and final chapter, Deletio Redux, contains 70 pages and is intended to put together an analysis that can deal with everything brought up in the preceding four chapters. To recap the issues, Merchant has pointed out that the form-identity generalizations suggest a movement approach to sluicing, along with PF-deletion; but the apparent insensitivity to some syntactic islands suggests a non-movement LF-copying approach.

Merchant supports the movement plus PF-deletion approach; thus, much of this chapter is devoted to explaining the island partial insensitivity facts. The fact that sluicing seems to be insensitive to some islands and not to others suggests that islands come in different varieties sensitive to different factors. Merchant develops this view by showing that what have been called islands indeed fall into three distinct classes. The third class, which includes extraction out of coordinate structure conjuncts, complex NPs and adjuncts, all involve extraction out of a propositional domain, which Merchant argues allow for an analysis exploiting e-type anaphora.

He sets aside the first class, since their account does not interact with the question of whether sluicing is PF-deletion or LF-copying though addresses them at the very end of the chapter. If Sluicing is PF-deletion and the second class of islands are all due to some PF-feature conflict then the fact that Sluicing can "undo" this type of island is explained. The third class of islands are real non-PF islands but the use of e-type anaphora combined with his pragmatic mutual entailment identity condition accounts for the apparent violation of these islands.

In fact, they are not violated at all.

How Do We Understand Missing Words? Ellipsis

Space does not permit a detailed discussion of each island so just a few examples will be outlined as illustration. Merchant devotes some time to left-branch extraction, which is a member of the second class of island types. Left-branch extraction is illustrated in Sluicing seems to "fix" the problem 14 - He wants a detailed list, but I don't know how detailed. This looks like a case where Sluicing hasn't fixed the left-branch extraction problem. However, Merchant claims that 16 is not bad because of a left-branch problem but rather because it violates his mutual entailment identity condition.

A Theory of Parallelism and the Case of VP Ellipsis - ACL Anthology

Essentially the issue is that wanting a list does not entail wanting a detailed list. Merchant points out that left-branch subextractions are not fixed by Sluicing. Compare 17 and 18 : Thus, whatever is causing the subextraction violation in 17 is not being undone by PF-deletion.

Merchant argues that the degree phrase itself does not project the relevant FP through whose specifier the measure phrase would be extracted, thus these remain islands independently of whether an offending feature is deleted or not. Another type of island that Merchant discusses in detail is what he calls derived position islands. This refers to subject islands and topicalization islands.


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An example of the latter is 19 , with a passive and with an unaccusative subject; and 20 illustrates how the island effect is ameliorated by Sluicing: Merchant's proposal is that 19 is out because extraction has taken place out of a phrase that is not L-marked following Chomsky a. Why is 20 good?

A theory of parallelism and the case of VP ellipsis

Merchant proposes that within the Sluice the movement to Spec,IP has not taken place and thus the extraction is from the subject's base position, not its derived position. Since its base position is L-marked no violation occurs. The question is why does the subject in the Sluice not need to move to Spec,IP as it would in 19?

The answer to that is that the feature that would normally drive the subject-movement to Spec,IP, the EPP feature in I, is "strong" and thus is uninterpretable at the PF interface. In 20 , Sluicing has deleted the IP, removing the offending feature. Merchant explores the question of whether having the subject stay within the VP at Spell-Out has any consequences for the interpretation.

Other Subject Areas

He concludes that it does not, showing that indeed the subject can interact with modals and negation as usual. Before turning to the third class of islands that Sluicing seems to be insensitive to, Merchant proposes an analysis of sentences like 21 , which forms the foundation for the analysis of that last class of islands. The type of Sluice one might expect for these is in 22 ; the problem is that the Sluiced IP contains an unbound trace: The report details what IBM did and why.

This sets the stage for an analysis of how Sluicing appears to violate the third class of islands, what Merchant calls propositional islands. These include relative clauses, adjuncts and sentential subjects, and coordinate structure conjuncts. A relative clause example is in In 25 is an example showing that usually extraction is not possible: They hired someone who speaks a Balkan language--guess which! As in the previous examples, instead of relating 24 to something like 25 , Merchant argues that it is in fact related to something like 26 , which contains an e-type pronoun licensed by the quantifier in the antecedent IP: New articles by this author.

New citations to this author. New articles related to this author's research. Email address for updates. My profile My library Metrics Alerts. Sign in. Get my own profile Cited by View all All Since Citations h-index 33 25 iindex 49 Natalia Pavlou University of Chicago Verified email at uchicago. Julian Grove Graduate, University of Chicago. Lorna P. Straus Professor of Linguistics, University of Chicago. Verified email at uchicago. Articles Cited by Co-authors.