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LINGUIST List 20.529

Thu Feb 19 2009

Diss: Syntax: Kolokonte: 'Bare Argument Ellipsis and Information ...'

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        1.    Marina Kolokonte, Bare Argument Ellipsis and Information Structure

Message 1: Bare Argument Ellipsis and Information Structure
Date: 19-Feb-2009
From: Marina Kolokonte <marinakolokodehotmail.com>
Subject: Bare Argument Ellipsis and Information Structure
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Institution: Newcastle University
Program: School of English Literature, Language & Linguistics (SELLL)
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008

Author: Marina Kolokonte

Dissertation Title: Bare Argument Ellipsis and Information Structure

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Dissertation Director:
Dimitra Kolliakou
Anders Holmberg

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation presents a cross-linguistic study of three elliptical
predicate constructions: (a) stripping, (b) negative-contrast, and (c)
yes/no ellipsis, which are all argued to fall under the scope of a more
general type of ellipsis, Bare Argument Ellipsis. From an interpretive
point of view, in all three constructions, the constituent that is present
in the second conjunct ('the remnant') has a characteristic information
role. In yes/no ellipsis, the remnant functions as a contrastive topic
whereas in stripping and negative-contrast the remnant is a focused
constituent. The latter two constructions are further differentiated with
regard to the semantic characteristics of Focus. Based on the assumption
that Focus is not uniform, it is shown that stripping involves narrow
information focus whereas negative-contrast involves contrastive focus.

From a syntactic point of view, I argue that Bare Argument Ellipsis
involves overt movement of the remnant to the left periphery of the clause,
followed by IP deletion. The PF-deletion approach is extended to all three
constructions. Following Rizzi's (1997) split-CP hypothesis, it is proposed
that the remnant in yes/no ellipsis moves to TopP, a functional projection
in the left periphery of the clause that encodes contrastive topics, by the
process of Clitic Left Dislocation. Contrastive topicalization of the
remnant forces narrow focus on the polarity marker.

Regarding stripping and negative-contrast, it is argued that the semantic
difference between narrow information and contrastive focus is directly
related to the focus projection that hosts the remnant. Following recent
proposals that Focus should be split into several projections, I show that
the remnant in negative-contrast ends up in F1P, a focus projection marked
for contrastiveness whereas the remnant in stripping moves to a lower F2P,
which simply encodes new information.

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