Ellipsis Licensing and Redundancy Reduction: A focus based approach
Hadas Kotek, Matthew Barros
February 2019

The focus of this paper is the characterization of the identity condition on sluicing. While the formulation of the identity condition remains an open issue, recent work suggests that sluices are anaphoric to an implicit question or issue that the antecedent makes salient in the discourse (“Q-equivalence approaches,” Ginzburg & Sag 2000; AnderBois 2011; 2014; 2016; Barros 2014; Weir 2014; Kotek & Barros to appear). We highlight several challenges to Q- equivalence, and argue instead for a return to a focus-based approach (Rooth 1992a; Romero 1998; Fox 2000; Merchant 2001). We develop a proposal similar to, but improving on Merchant 2001, where sluicing is possible provided that the antecedent and sluice have the same focus-theoretic propositional content. Under such an approach, antecedents are importantly not responsible for raising any particular issue/question themselves. We furthermore provide a generalized account going beyond sluicing to explain cases of VP-ellipsis. Finally, we entertain the idea that the theory of ellipsis licensing should be integrated into the general theory of redundancy reduction — in particular, that the semantic condition on identity in ellipsis is the same as the condition on deaccenting.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004210
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: sluicing, identity condition, semantics, focus, question under discussion, inquisitiveness, inquisitive semantics, anaphora to issues, ellipsis, semantics, syntax
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