The P-stranding generalization does not require covert structure
Yusuke Kubota, Bob Levine
September 2017

The P-stranding generalization (preposition stranding generalization)---an observation by Jason Merchant (2001) that for any language, the preposition stranding possibilities in full forms are faithfully mirrored in ellipsis---is generally regarded as particularly strong evidence for the presence of covert structure in the derivation of ellipsis constructions. Merchant's argument is predicated on the fact that approaches to ellipsis which rely on strictly semantic retrieval of the missing content cannot identify the presence of a preposition in the syntactic context of ellipsis, and hence cannot block it in the crucial cases. But as we argue, this in itself is not sufficient to motivate positing hidden structure. In the following discussion, we show that the analysis of ellipsis developed in Kubota and Levine 2017a, 2017b, which requires no more than anaphoric access to the valence of linguistic signs in the discourse context, is completely sufficient to account for the P-stranding generalizion as Merchant formulated it.
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Reference: lingbuzz/003659
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keywords: preposition stranding generalization, ellipsis, deletion, sluicing, anaphora, syntactic identity, categorial grammar, semantics, syntax
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