On pronominalization and ellipsis in clausal idioms
Nick Huang, Gesoel Mendes
September 2019

Idiom chunks can participate in anaphoric relations, as many have observed (Nunberg et al. 1994, Bruening 2015 etc.). However, to the best of our knowledge, the theoretical implications of this fact have not been properly appreciated. In this paper, building on existing observations, we present a novel paradigm that shows that pronominalization and VP ellipsis in clausal idioms are not as free as some would expect. Namely, pronoun subjects and VP ellipsis appear to have to co-occur to preserve the interpretation of a clausal idiom. We argue that this paradigm lends new support to (i) the idea that pronouns can be derived from full noun phrases (e.g. Elbourne 2001, Postal 1966), (ii) an identity condition on ellipsis that takes into account the content of a syntactic chunk larger than the elided constituent (e.g. Gengel 2007, pace Merchant 2001), and (iii) the idea that idiomatic interpretation is sensitive to pragmatic inferences about remnants of ellipsis.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004558
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Proceedings of NELS 49
keywords: idioms, ellipsis, pronouns, syntax
previous versions: v2 [May 2019]
v1 [April 2019]
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