Fragmentary utterances such as short answers and subsentential XPs without linguistic antecedents are proposed to have fully sentential syntactic structures, subject to ellipsis. Ellipsis in these cases is preceded by A-movement of the fragment to a clause-peripheral position; the combination of movement and ellipsis accounts for a wide range of connectivity and anti-connectivity effects in these structures. Fragment answers furthermore shed light on the nature of islands, and contrast with sluicing in triggering island effects; this is shown to follow from (...) an articulated syntax and the PF theory of islands. Fragments without linguistic antecedents are argued to be compatible with an ellipsis analysis, and do not support direct interpretation approaches to these phenomena. (shrink)
Comparatives are among the most extensively investigated constructions in generative grammar, yet comparatives involving attributive adjectives have received a relatively small amount of attention. This paper investigates a complex array of facts in this domain that shows that attributive comparatives, unlike other comparatives, are well-formed only if some type of ellipsis operation applies within the comparative clause. Incorporating data from English, Polish, Czech, Greek, and Bulgarian, we argue that these facts support two important conclusions. First, violations of Ross’s Left Branch (...) Condition that involve attributive modiﬁers should not be accounted for in terms of constraints on LF representations (such as the Empty Category Principle), but rather in terms of the principle of Full Interpretation at the PF interface. Second, ellipsis must be analyzed as deletion of syntactic material from the phonological representation. In addition, we present new evidence from pseudogapping constructions that favors an articulated syntax of attributive modiﬁcation in which certain types of attributive modiﬁers may occur outside DP. (shrink)
The term ‘ellipsis’ can be used to refer to a variety of phenomena: syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic. In this article, I discuss the recent comprehensive survey by Stainton 2006 of these kinds of ellipsis with respect to the analysis of nonsententials and try to show that despite his trenchant criticisms and insightful proposal, some of the criticisms can be evaded and the insights incorporated into a semantic ellipsis analysis, making a ‘divide-and-conquer’ strategy to the properties of nonsententials feasible after all. (...) -/- Editor's comment: To find the contribution, please go to item 16 of the URL, which contains the full text. Professor Merchant has permitted this. (shrink)
One of the most startling, and hence theoretically challenging, properties of wh-movement in Sluicing is that it can move wh-phrases out of islands, an important observation which goes back to Ross (1969). Equally challenging is the fact that similar wh-movement out of VP Ellipsis sites remains for the most part illicit. Briefly put, it seems that for a wide range of cases, deletion of an IP containing an island voids the effect of that island for wh-movement, while deletion of a (...) VP containing an island does not. This chapter investigates one aspect of this puzzling dichotomy with respect to island repair, and attempts to show that an interesting and partly novel range of data follow if island deviancies come about due to illicit traces of intermediate movement, working in tandem with a constraint on ellipsis operative in structures that host wh-movement. I will argue that a wide range of islands are indeed active at PF, but not in the way that this claim has usually been understood thus far. Instead of the island node itself being responsible for the degradation in acceptability, I will show that the data support the idea that it is the traces of wh-movement outside the island itself which trigger a PF-crash. I begin with some relevant Background on Sluicing, given in section 6.1, before taking up the Sluicing data in section 6.2 and the VP Ellipsis facts in section 6.3. (shrink)
This squib investigates a paradox that arises from the interaction of two well-studied domains of grammar: antecedent-contained deletion and the licensing of negative polarity items. The conflict arises from a simple set of facts that have been overlooked in the literature, given in (1).
Elided VPs and their antecedent VPs can mismatch in voice, with passive VPs being elided under apparent identity with active antecedent VPs, and vice versa. Such voice mismatches are not allowed in any other kind of ellipsis, such as sluicing and other clausal ellipses. These latter facts indicate that the identity relation in ellipsis is sensitive to syntactic form, not merely to semantic form. The VP-ellipsis facts fall into place if the head that determines voice is external to the phrase (...) being elided, here argued to be v P; such an account can only be framed in approaches that allow for the separation of syntactic features from the heads on which they are morphologically realized. Alternatives to this syntactic, articulated view of ellipsis and voice either undergenerate or overgenerate. (shrink)
The term ellipsis has been applied to a wide range of phenomena across the centuries, from any situation in which words appear to be missing (in St. Isidore’s deﬁnition), to a much narrower range of particular constructions. Ellipsis continues to be of central interest to theorists of language exactly because it represents a situation where the usual form/meaning mappings, the algorithms, structures, rules, and constraints that in nonelliptical sentences allow us to map sounds and gestures onto their corresponding meanings, break (...) down. In fact, in ellipsis, the usual mappings seems to be entirely absent. In ellipsis, there is meaning without form. VP-ellipsis and sluicing are two of the best investigated instances of ellipsis and generally show remarkable similarities in their licensing requirements, both usually necessitating some equivalent antecedent which is subject to some kind of parallelism. It is no exaggeration to say that debates over the nature of this parallelism have formed the core of most of the generative work on ellipsis over the last forty years. Almost all conceivable positions on the parallelism question have been explored and advanced, and these debates are important exactly because they are often used to argue for the necessity of one or another kind of linguistic representation. Most of the debate is located in the arena of semantics and abstract syntactic structures—it is clear that surface syntactic or phonological parallelism is not at stake—and as such, elliptical structures often play an important role in fundamental ontological debates in linguistics. The logic is clear: if the parallelism or identity conditions found in ellipsis resolution require reference to certain kinds of objects, then our theories of linguistic competence must countenance objects of that kind. In generative linguistics, research has focused on two sets of constructions. Central examples of the ﬁrst set, drawn from English, include sluicing as in (1), verb phrase ellipsis (VP-ellipsis) as in (2), and NP-ellipsis (or N -ellipsis) 2 as in (3).. (shrink)
Abstract Standards of comparison in Greek can be marked either by a preposition or by use of the genitive case. The prepositional standards are compatible with both synthetic and analytic comparative forms, while genitive standards are found only with synthetic comparatives. I show that this follows if genitive case is assigned by the affix to its complement, and that this structure furthermore supports a straightforward semantic composition, both in predicative and attributive uses.
VP-ellipsis and pseudogapping in English show a previously unnoticed asymmetry in their tolerance for voice mismatch: while VP-ellipsis allows mismatches in voice between the elided VP and its antecedent, pseudogapping does not. This difference is unexpected under current analyses of pseudogapping, which posit that pseudogapping is a kind of VP-ellipsis. I show that this difference falls out naturally if the target of deletion in the two cases differs slightly: in VP-ellipsis, a node lower than [voi(ce)] is deleted, while in pseudogapping (...) a node containing [voi] is deleted. Moreover, this analysis accounts for a new observation concerning the distribution of floating quantifiers in these two constructions. (shrink)
Masculine/feminine pairs of human-denoting nouns in Greek fall into three distinct classes under predicative ellipsis: those that license ellipsis of their counterpart regardless of gender, those that only license ellipsis of a same-gendered noun, and those in which the masculine noun of the pair licenses ellipsis of the feminine version, but not vice versa. The three classes are uniform in disallowing any gender mismatched ellipses in argument uses, however. This differential behavior of gender in nominal ellipsis can be captured by (...) positing that human-denoting nouns in Greek, while syntactically and morphological uniform in showing a masculine/feminine contrast, do not all encode this contrast in their semantics. Under a semantic identity theory of ellipsis, the attested variation in nominal ellipses in Greek is posited to derive from the fact that nominal ellipsis has two possible sources: a nominal constituent can be elided (true ellipsis), or a null nominal proform can be used (model-theoretic anaphora). (shrink)
This note presents a simple, novel diagnostic for determining the phrase structural status of negative markers cross-linguistically, a topic of enduring interest (for recent approaches and references see Haegeman; Zanuttini; Giannakidou, Landscape and Polarity). If the sentential negative marker in a given language is phrasal (an XP, generally adverbial), it will occur in the collocation why not?; if it is a head (an X 0, generally clitic-like), it will not. In the latter languages, the word for ‘no’ can sometimes be (...) used, itself (presumably) a phrasal negative adverb. (A fortiori, languages with possibly word-internal morphological markers for sentential negation, such as Turkish, will not allow these markers in the collocation.) The first group of languages, those with XP negative markers, is given in 1: (1) a. English why not? * why no?1 b. German warum nicht? * warum nein? c. Dutch waarom niet? * waarom nee? d. Danish hvorfor ikke? * hvorfor nej? e. Icelandic hverfor ekki? * hvarfor nej? f. French pourquoi pas? * pourquoi non?2 g. Tsez shida anu? * shida ey? The second class of languages, those with X0 negative markers, is given in 2. (shrink)
Prominence hierarchy effects such as the animacy hierarchy and definiteness hierarchy have been a puzzle for formal treatments of case since they were first described systematically in Silverstein 1976. Recently, these effects have received more sustained attention from generative linguists, who have sought to capture them in treatments grounded in well-understood mechanisms for case assignment cross-linguistically. These efforts have taken two broad directions. In the first, Aissen 1999, 2003 has integrated the effects elegantly into a competition model of grammar using (...) OT formalisms, where iconicity effects emerge from constraint conjunctions between constraints on fixed universal hierarchies (definiteness, animacy, person, grammatical role) and a constraint banning overt morphological expression of case. The second direction grows out of the work of Jelinek and Diesing, and is found most articulated in Jelinek 1993, Jelinek and Carnie 2003, and Carnie 2005. This work takes as its starting point the observation that word order is sometimes correlated with the hierarchies as well, and works backwards from that to conclusions about phrase structure geometries. In this paper, I propose a particular implementation of this latter direction, and explore its consequences for our understanding of the nature of case assignment. If hierarchy effects are due to positional differences in phrase structures, then, I argue, the attested cross-linguistic differences fall most naturally out if the grammars of these languages countenance polyvalent case—that is, assignment of more than one case value to a single nominal phrase. (shrink)
This paper establishes the novel generalization that Subject -Auxiliary Inversion in comparative clauses requires the co-presence of VP-ellipsis, and argues that this peculiar fact follows from a disjunctive formulation of an ECP that applies at PF. The analysis relies crucially on the presence of an intermediate trace of the A'-moved comparative operator at the edge of VP, which is subject to the ECP at PF, and which interacts with the head movement involved in SAI. This trace is unlicensed in structures (...) with I-to-C movement, but VP-ellipsis repairs the violation, providing further evidence that ellipsis can repair otherwise deviant structures. (shrink)
Establishing the level of representation or the point in a derivation at which movement takes place has never been a trivial matter, and as such remains an topic of substantial ongoing interest. For overt movement, this question is complicated by the availability in principle of two components in which movement could take place with indistinguishable effects on word order: in the derivation leading to Spell-Out, or in the mapping from Spell-Out to PF. To a great extent, the reasoning brought to (...) bear on this question has been concentrated on A- and A'-movement and their properties; head-movement, in contrast, has remained a distant third. In this paper, I show that a little-studied peculiarity of elliptical wh-questions in Germanic can cast new light on this question, providing evidence that there is indeed head-movement which takes place late in the derivation at PF, after Spell-Out.* The peculiarity in question comes from a range of data found only under sluicing in a subset of the Germanic languages. In particular, it is found in sluices involving certain prepositions, in which the [+wh] object of the preposition appears not after the preposition in the usual head-complement order, but before it, as in (1). (shrink)
This squib investigates the nature and syntactic placement of the restriction of quantificational determiners under the copy theory of movement and presents a brief argument from the interaction of antecedent-contained deletion (ACD) and Principle C that while relative clauses in ACD must be deleted from their base positions, complements and adjuncts in NP need not be, and hence must not be.
It is well understood that the analysis of elliptical phenomena has the potential to inform our understanding of the syntax-semantics interface, as it forces the analyst to confront directly the mechanisms for generating meanings without the usual forms that give rise to them. But facts from ellipsis have an equal potential to illuminate our understanding of the structure of the lexicon. A close investigation of nominal ellipses in Greek shows that gender features are not all created equal: the values of (...) some gender features (masculine, feminine) on some nominals must be distinguished from the very same values as they are encoded on other nouns. This conclusion is forced upon us by the following generalization: (1) Gender and ellipsis generalization: When gender is variable (as on determiners, clitics, adjectives, and some nominals under certain conditions), it may be ignored under ellipsis. When gender is invariant (on nouns in argument positions, and on some nominals in predicative uses), it may not be ignored under ellipsis. I argue that this generalization ﬁnds a relatively straightforward account in a derivational framework using an LF-copy theory of ellipsis identity and resolution, but not under semantic or LF-identity accounts (whether these latter are.. (shrink)
This paper attempts to give an account of bracketing paradoxes by developing the theory of alignment (McCarthy and Prince 1993b). The rubric ‘bracketing paradox’ (BP) has been used to cover a number of disparate phenomena, though it is not obvious that these phenomena should be given a unitary analysis. I will confine my attention here to the kind of BP illustrated in (1).
An account of the distribution of the dorsal fricative in German has generally been assumed to require cyclic derivation and/or multiple phonological levels (Hall 1989, Moltmann 1990, Noske 1990, MacFarland and Pierrehumbert 1991, Iverson and Salmons 1992, Borowsky 1993). In this squib, I argue that the facts of fricative assimilation can be accounted for without cyclicity or separate phonological levels within Optimality Theory (OT) (Prince and Smolensky 1993) by employing a version of the theory of alignment proposed by McCarthy and (...) Prince (1993b), which permits direct interaction between morphological and phonological structures. I propose that the fricative in these cases is ambisyllabic, permitting an account under which fricative assimilation occurs only tautosyllabically. My analysis assumes that alignment constraints proper are not violated in cases of multiple linking, supporting the premise that the satisfaction of alignment constraints is to be distinguished from satisfaction of constraints requiring prosodic units to have crisp edges (as argued for in Itô and Mester (in press)). (shrink)
A usual semantics for times1 assumes that the domain of quantification for times is an ordered set of times Tu called a ‘timeline’, with a total ordering relation < over Tu which is transitive, irreflexive, and antisymmetric. The default timeline is from the beginning of the universe to the end of the universe, passing through now, with a one-to-one mapping to ℜ (Tu is dense). Predicates can be modeled as functions from individuals to times to truth values, > (...) (abstracting away from world and event variables). This gives the standard interpretation for synonymous examples like (1) as in (2). (shrink)
In this paper, we examine the properties of a novel kind of nominal ellipsis in Greek, which we call indefinite argument drop (IAD), concentrating on its manifestation in object positions. We argue that syntactically these null objects are present as pro, and we show that semantically they are licensed only by weak DP antecedents (in the sense of Milsark 1974). We compare IAD with NP- internal ellipsis, as attested also in English among many other languages, and show that IAD has (...) distinct syntactic and semantic properties. Finally, we compare our account with a number of proposals regarding null objects in the literature, and show that IAD cannot be reduced to any of these. (shrink)
This paper presents a brief argument from the interaction of weak crossover (WCO), antecedent-contained deletion (ACD), and other facts of VP-ellipsis that subjects are base-generated in a predicateinternal position but move through an intermediate A-position on their way to their ﬁnal landing site (the speciﬁer of TP) and can take scope in this intermediate position.
Aleut shows a remarkable alternation in its case and agreement patterns: roughly put, one pattern appears when a non-subject argument is syntactically unexpressed in a predicate, and the other pattern appears otherwise. This paper is devoted to an attempt to provide a coherent analysis for this alternation: the missing argument is analyzed as a pro which must move into a local relation with the highest T; in this position, it triggers additional agreement on the verb, and blocks normal case assignment (...) to the subject (which then gets a different case). This movement is analogous to that of (potentially long) clitic movement, and its effects on the case and agreement patterns is shown to be similar to the wh-agreement pattern in Chamorro. (shrink)