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

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Oxford University Press, 2001 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 262 pages
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A primary goal of contemporary theoretical linguistics is to develop a theory of the correspondence between sound (or gesture) and meaning. This sound-meaning correspondence breaks down completely in the case of ellipsis, and yet various forms of ellipsis are pervasive in natural language: words and phrases which should be in the linguistic signal go missing. How this should be possible is the focus of Jason Merchant's investigation. He focuses on the form of ellipsis known as sluicing, acommon feature of interrogative clauses, such as in 'Sally's out hunting - guess what!'; and 'Someone called, but I can't tell you who'. It is the most frequently found cross-linguistic form of ellipsis. Dr Merchant studies the phenomenon across twenty-four languages, and attempts to explain it in linguistic and behavioural terms.
 

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Contents

Introduction L
1
Focus and Isomorphism
10
The Syntax of Sluicing
39
Islands and FormIdentity
86
Deletio nata atque mortua
108
Deletio redux
159
Conclusion
230
Language Index 2 51
251
Subject Index
258
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The Syntax of Anaphora
Ken Safir
Limited preview - 2004
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About the author (2001)


Jason Merchant is Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Linguistics, Northwestern University. He obtained his doctorate in 1999 from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where in 1998 he received the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. His research interests are syntactic theory (ellipsis, islands, and resumptives), formal semantics, the syntax-semantics interface, Germanic languages, Greek, and language typology.

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