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LINGUIST List 20.2535

Fri Jul 17 2009

Diss: Syntax: Aelbrecht: 'You Have the Right to Remain Silent: The...'

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        1.    Lobke Aelbrecht, You Have the Right to Remain Silent: The syntactic licensing of ellipsis

Message 1: You Have the Right to Remain Silent: The syntactic licensing of ellipsis
Date: 17-Jul-2009
From: Lobke Aelbrecht <lobke.aelbrechtgmail.com>
Subject: You Have the Right to Remain Silent: The syntactic licensing of ellipsis
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Institution: Catholic University Brussels
Program: PhD program Ellipsis
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Lobke Aelbrecht

Dissertation Title: You Have the Right to Remain Silent: The syntactic licensing of ellipsis

Dissertation URL: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/OlcUDhYnZmzhKQOL/GSvoUNzg

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Subject Language(s): Dutch (nld)
                            English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Jeroen van Craenenbroeck
Guido Vanden Wyngaerd

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation provides a theory of ellipsis licensing in terms of
Agree. I claim that the head selecting the ellipsis site bears an ellipsis
feature [E] that has to be checked against the category feature of an
ellipsis licensing head in order for ellipsis to take place. This implies
that the licensing head and the ellipsis site do not have to be adjacent.
Moreover, I argue that ellipsis - i.e. sending part of the structure to PF
for non-pronunciation - happens as soon as this checking relation is
established. At that point, the ellipsis site becomes inaccessible for
further syntactic operations. This theory allows me to explain the limited
extraction data with an elliptical phenomenon I call Dutch modals
complement ellipsis or MCE, as well as in British English 'do'.

In Dutch MCE and British English 'do' subjects can be extracted out of the
ellipsis site, while objects cannot. This observation provides a paradox
when deciding which analysis these phenomena should receive: is the
ellipsis a null proform or does it contain deleted structure. I argue for a
deletion account of these constructions and show that the ban on object
extraction can be explained when ellipsis occurs during the derivation.
Hence, extraction as a test for deleted structure can only be applied in
one direction: if extraction out of the ellipsis site is possible, the
ellipsis site contains a fully-fledged syntactic structure that is deleted.
If not, this does not automatically mean that the ellipsis site does not
contain internal structure.

The theory of ellipsis licensing I propose can also be applied to phenomena
that do not display such restricted extraction out of the ellipsis site,
such as sluicing, VP ellipsis and pseudogapping. Hence, this dissertation
is a next step towards a unified analysis of ellipsis.

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