LINGUIST List 13.600

Tue Mar 5 2002

Books: Semantics

Editor for this issue: Dina Kapetangianni <>

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  1. GLSA, Semantics: Satoshi Tomioka's dissertation

Message 1: Semantics: Satoshi Tomioka's dissertation

Date: Mon, 04 Mar 2002 18:15:30 -0500
From: GLSA <>
Subject: Semantics: Satoshi Tomioka's dissertation

(Dissertation, Semantics)

Satoshi Tomioka (University of Massachusetts). Focusing Effects and NP
Interpretation in VP Ellipsis (1999). Velobound Book, $16. To order,
visit our web page:


This dissertation provides solutions for some problems of
quantification and anaphora interpretation in VP ellipsis
contexts. The introductory Chapter 1 begins with brief descriptions of
the problems and some of the basic assumptions employed in this
thesis. I will then discuss the 'identity problem' of VP ellipsis and
argue that the relevant identity condition for VPs is determined at
the level of LF but is oblivious to indices on anaphoric
expressions. This conclusion leads to a question of how to constrain
indexing of pronominal elements in VP ellipsis contexts so that
unavailable interpretations are successfully eliminated.

In Chapter 2, I argue that the distribution of indices in VP ellipsis
contexts is constrained by a pragmatic principle, namely a principle
of focus interpretation. It will be shown that some of the most recent
development in the semantics and pragmatics of focus gives the right
degree of restrictiveness on indexing.

Chapter 3 is an investigation of a curious puzzle of quantifier scope
in VP ellipsis contexts. When a quantificational NP is contained in
the antecedent VP, its interpretation appears to be dependent on the
quantificational structure of the ellipsis site. I will argue that the
unavailable interpretations of quantifiers in those contexts are ruled
out because they do not satisfy the condition of focus
interpretation. The solution advocated here removes the need for
special syntactic constraints on scope taking in ellipsis contexts.

The core empirical issue in Chapter 4 is a set of examples in which a
pronoun in VP ellipsis contexts allows a so-called 'sloppy' reading in
a structural configuration that is believed to disallow variable
binding. These examples threaten the standard view that a strict
reading of a pronoun is brought about by the referential nature of the
pronoun while a bound variable pronoun yields a sloppy reading under
ellipsis. I will provide a solution for this puzzle, in which I will
relate the problem to the semantics of indefinite NPs and pronouns
anaphoric to them.

Graduate Linguistics Association (GLSA)
Department of Linguistics, South College
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003 USA
Phone & Voice Mail: 413-545-6838
Fax: 413-545-2792
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Thursday, January 17, 2002