Sluicing and gapping: ellipsis or selective spell-out?
Hans Broekhuis, Josef Bayer
June 2020

This paper follows Ott & Struckmeier (2018) in assuming that the standard movement-and-deletion approach to clausal ellipsis (such as sluicing and gapping) should be abandoned. We will, however, not adopt their alternative in-situ approach, according to which ellipsis is restricted to given information in the propositional domain, due to felicity conditions on discourse related to recoverability. The reason for this is that we have serious doubts about the validity of the empirical motivation, based on the syntactic behavior of German discourse particles, in favor of this alternative. We will argue instead that the remnants of clausal ellipsis result from selective spell-out of A'-specifier positions of functional projections with specific semantic/information-structural import (CP, SpecNeg, FocusP and TopicP). Although we have not yet investigated in detail the question why it are precisely these A'-specifiers that are selectively spelled-out at PF, assuming this seems to fit in nicely with the fact that such specifiers more generally have special phonological properties such as contrastive accent. This suggests to us that selective spell-out can ultimately be derived from the recoverability condition on deletion (in this case of phonological information).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004186
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Linguistics in the Netherlands 2020, 23-37. John Benjamins. Amsterdam/Philadephia.
keywords: ellipsis, sluicing, gapping, particles, deletion, selective spell-out, syntax, semantics, information-structure, phonology
previous versions: v4 [February 2020]
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