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Linguistics Colloquium: Joanna Nykiel

Fragments, identity, and direct interpretation approaches to ellipsis

Nov 09, 2018
from 03:10 PM to 04:30 PM

Andrews Conf. Rm., 2203 SS&H Building

An assumption common in direct-interpretation approaches to ellipsis is that a fragment’s morphosyntactic features (syntactic category and case) must correspond to those of a Salient Utterance (SU) available in the surrounding discourse, but otherwise, fragments are stand-alone phrases. However, this identity requirement is silent on the question of which constituents of an antecedent may serve as SUs. I discuss two types of fragments in this regard: (1) fragments that contain only new information vs fragments that contain both new and given information relative to the antecedents, (2) fragments that mismatch SUs in case or syntactic category features. As for (1), I will present English corpus and acceptability judgment data. As for (2), I will discuss existing cross-linguistic data. I will outline modifications to the identity requirement that are motivated in part by the idea that antecedents that are more accessible (more semantically and syntactically contentful) tend to be paired with less explicit anaphors. This can be seen as a reflection of the more general language-processing principle of Minimize Forms (Hawkins 2004, 2014).

 

Joanna Nykiel is Visiting Professor in the Department of English Linguistics and Literature, Kyung Hee University, Seoul. Her research interests include syntactic variation, experimental syntax, theoretical syntax, and language processing.