Ellipsis Licensing via Alternatives
Nicholas Fleisher
July 2019

Binding and ellipsis are empirically and theoretically symbiotic: each helps reveal otherwise hidden facts about the other. Here I focus on a problematic feature of many approaches to binding and ellipsis, namely that they license strict identity in cases where the corresponding pronoun in the ellipsis antecedent is locally bound. Such a licensing regime overpredicts the distribution of strict readings. This is a particularly dire problem for theories of binding that involve what I call compulsory binding (Reinhart 1983, Grodzinsky & Reinhart 1993, Fox 2000, B├╝ring 2005), but it also afflicts the widely adopted ellipsis licensing framework of Rooth (1992). I propose a new theory in which ellipsis is licensed via formal alternatives (Fox & Katzir 2011), pairing this with the approach to binding developed by Heim (1993), Reinhart (2006), and Roelofsen (2010). Beyond its success in taming the generation of strict readings, the approach developed here straightforwardly derives certain ellipsis phenomena that have elsewhere been attributed to Parallelism (Fox 2000). The present approach thus trades an exogenous constraint for a licensing mechanism whose basic operation yields the same results, while making use of a theoretical formative (formal alternatives) that has been argued to be of independent interest.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004698
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted
keywords: ellipsis, binding, alternatives, parallelism, semantics, syntax
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