LLF – Bât. ODG – 5e étage – Salle du conseil (533)
Christina Kim (U Kent)
Getting an accurate theory of VP ellipsis from an explanatory theory of ellipsis
In this talk, I will present some prior findings (work with Jeff Runner) that were used to argue for a VPE-specific syntactic identity condition, followed by some preliminary thoughts about how the same data might be captured by a broader theory of ellipsis and focus structure.
First, I will argue that of the various grammatical and discourse constraints that affect acceptability in VPE, only the structural parallelism constraint is unique to VPE. In two acceptability judgment experiments, we show that --- in line with Kehler's (2000, 2002) predictions --- degradation due to structural mismatch is modulated by coherence relation. On the other hand, we consistently find residual structural mismatch effects, suggesting that the interpretation of VPE is sensitive to structural features of the VPE antecedent. We propose that a structural constraint licenses VPE, but that sentences violating this constraint can nevertheless be interpreted. We test the prediction that thematic role bias and QUD structure will influence both elliptical and non-elliptical sentences alike, while structural mismatch continues to degrade elliptical sentences alone.
Next, I revisit the possibility that syntactic identity effects in VPE are really focus structure/QUD. Specifically, I'll ask how residual syntactic identity effects can be accounted for, and how different ellipsis types should be expected to cluster.