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Title: A Theory of Ellipsis
Written By: Marjorie Joan McShane

Ellipsis is the non-expression of one or more sentence elements whose
meaning can be reconstructed either from the context or from a person's
knowledge of the world. In speech and writing, ellipsis is pervasive,
contributing in various ways to the economy, speed, and style of
communication. Resolving ellipsis is a particularly challenging issue in
natural language processing, since not only must meaning be gleaned from
missing elements but the fact that something meaningful is missing must be
detected in the first place.

Marjorie McShane presents a comprehensive theory of ellipsis that supports
the formal, cross-linguistic description of elliptical phenomena taking
into account the various factors that affect the use of ellipsis. A
methodology is suggested for creating a parameter space describing and
treating ellipsis in any language. Such "ellipsis profiles" of languages
will serve a wide range of practical applications, including but not
limited to natural language processing. In contrast to earlier work, this
theory focuses not only on what can, in principle, be elided but in what
circumstances a given category actually would or would not be elided--that
is, what renders ellipsis mandatory or infelicitous.

A theory of ellipsis has been elusive because to produce an adequate
account of this ubiquitous phenomenon one needs to address and integrate
data from a wide variety of linguistic research areas. Using data primarily
from Russian, English, and Polish, McShane looks at the big picture of
ellipsis, integrating the syntactic, semantic, morphological, and
pragmatic heuristics and bridges work on ellipsis with the larger study of
reference. This is groundbreaking linguistic scholarship that bridges the
theoretical and the applied, and will interest scholars in the fields of
computational, descriptive, and theoretical linguistics.

Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics
Linguistic Theories
Subject Language(s): English
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0195176928
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 272
Prices: U.S. $ 74.00