Thursday, June 13, 2019

Best All-in-One Ellipsis Package

The following papers all defend the claim that ellipsis is vastly more pervasive in English syntax than any current theory countenances. In fact, I view current theories to be excessively conservative. I also include my paper co-authored with Andrew Radford to illustrate the idea of ghosting (from Collins and Postal 2012).

Quantifier Domain Restriction as Ellipsis
Abstract: In this paper I argue that in certain cases quantifier domain restriction is due to a process of syntactic ellipsis. I give evidence for this analysis from inverse scope phenomena. I respond to Stanley and Szabó’s arguments against a syntactic ellipsis approach. Furthermore, I show how their own semantic proposal fails to capture the inverse scope facts.

Incomplete Comparatives as Ellipsis
July 2017
Abstract: In this paper, I give an analysis of certain incomplete comparatives in terms of ellipsis. My main arguments for this analysis are the interpretation of pronouns (sloppy vs. strict) and the interpretation of quantifiers (including inverse scope). I show that deleted comparative phrases block extraction of wh-phrases, which is unexpected on a deletion account. I proposed that deleted comparative phrases are islands for overt movement.

Adjunct Deletion
June 2015
Abstract: In this paper, I introduce the phenomenon of adjunct deletion. I show how facts about quantifier interpretation fit into an adjunct deletion analysis, but cannot be analyzed in terms of null there. I argue that deleted adjuncts are islands for extraction. This paper fits in with the results of Collins 2014 on relative clause deletion and Collins and Postal 2012 on ghosting (see also Collins and Radford 2015). Both works together show that the range of deletion phenomena is considerably greater than what is reported in recent survey papers on the topic.

Relative Clause Deletion
May 2014
Abstract: This paper investigates relative clause deletion in English. Relative clause deletion is found in coordinate structures and comparatives. Some issues that are discussed include: identity and parallelism conditions on deletion, deletion of non-relative clause modifiers, deletion of relative clauses with definite DPs, reconstruction into deleted relative clauses, strict and sloppy readings of pronouns in deleted relative clauses, the phi-features of pronouns and the implications of relative clause deletion for the structure of relative clauses.

Gaps, Ghosts and Gapless Relatives in Spoken English (with Andrew Radford)
January 2013
Abstract: This paper looks at the syntax of so-called gapless relative clauses in spoken English. §1 contrasts gap relatives (like that italicised in ‘something which I said’, in which there is a gap internally within the relative clause associated with the relativized constituent) with gapless relatives (like that italicised in ‘They were clowning around, which I didn’t really care until I found out they had lost my file’, in which there is no apparent gap within the relative clause). In §2, we note that a number of recent analyses take which to function as a subordinating conjunction in gapless relatives, but we argue against this view and provide evidence that the wh-word in such clauses is indeed a relative pronoun. In §3, we argue that the relative pronoun in gapless relatives serves as the object of a ‘silent’ preposition. In §4, we present an analysis under which a preposition can be silent when it (or its containing PP) undergoes a type of deletion operation called Ghosting. §5 shows how Ghosting (like other deletion operations) can serve to rescue structures which would otherwise induce constraint violations. §6 discusses gapless relatives which have a Topic-Comment interpretation, and argues for an extended Ghosting analysis under which a predicate of SAYING associated with the ghosted preposition is also ghosted. Our overall conclusion is that supposedly ‘gapless’ relatives are more properly analysed as containing a gap created by relativization of the object of a ghosted preposition.

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