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      A Q-based approach to clausal ellipsis: Deriving the preposition stranding and island sensitivity generalisations without movement

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          Abstract

          This paper argues that the meaning of a clausal ellipsis site can only be recovered from a syntactically derived question, regardless of whether this question is explicitly uttered or is merely pragmatically inferred. This entails that the meaning of a clausal ellipsis site cannot be recovered from an inferred question q in a language L if q is syntactically ill-formed in L. I demonstrate that this restriction on recoverability can account for Merchant’s ( 2001; 2004) Preposition-Stranding Generalisation and for the observation that fragments appear to be sensitive to syntactic islands ( Merchant 2004; Abels 2011; Barros et al. 2014; 2015) without any mention of whether remnants of clausal ellipsis themselves undergo movement. Because there is no need to stipulate that remnants themselves undergo (often exceptional) movement under this approach, a theory of clausal ellipsis modelled on Cable’s ( 2010) Q-based analysis of wh-questions is developed that permits non-pronunciation “around” designated phrases. This approach is shown to be preferred on many occasions to the predominant movement-based analysis ( Merchant 2004), which is too restrictive and must frequently resort to the notion of ellipsis repair.

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          Most cited references 88

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          A theory of focus interpretation

           Mats Rooth (1992)
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            Information structure in discourse: Towards an integrated formal theory of pragmatics

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              The Syntax of Silence: Sluicing, Islands, and the Theory of Ellipsis

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2397-1835
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Ubiquity Press
                2397-1835
                23 January 2019
                2019
                : 4
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Konstanz, Universitätsstraße 10, 78464, Konstanz, DE
                Article
                10.5334/gjgl.653
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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