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  • Verb-Stranding VP Ellipsis: A Cross-Linguistic Study


    Lotus Madelyn GoldbergJune 2005

    Bachelor of Arts, Linguistics, with Honors in the Major, University of California at Santa Cruz (1993)Master of Arts, Linguistics, University of California at Santa Cruz (1998)

    A thesis submitted toMcGill University

    in partial fulfilment of the requirementsof the degree of

    Doctor of Philosophy

    Department of LinguisticsMcGill UniversityMontral, Qubec, Canada Lotus Goldberg 2005

  • ii


    This thesis presents a study of a construction which I refer to as Verb-Stranding VP Ellipsis.

    The construction is studied here, specifically, in two distinct senses.

    First, in chapter two, diagnostics are proposed by which the VP Ellipsis (VPE) construction

    can be identifiedirrespective of whether the main verb involved is null or overt. It is proposed that

    these diagnostics can be used to rule out the possibility that the data at issue are cases of other types

    of null anaphora, such as null arguments, Stripping, Gapping, and Null Complement Anaphora. It

    emerges from this section of the thesis that Modern Hebrew, Modern Irish, and Swahili have V-

    Stranding VPE data which form a natural class with English's Aux-Stranding VPE, while Japanese,

    Korean, Italian, and Spanish do not.

    The second focus is the question of how V-Stranding VPE should be generated. Chapters 3

    and 4 argue in favor of an analysis involving PF Deletion of a VP out of which the main verb has

    raised, and against an LF Copying treatment. These arguments, in part, involve the Verbal Identity

    Requirement on VP Ellipsis, a novel generalization involving strict identity in root and derivational

    morphology between the antecedent- and target-clause main Vs of the construction. Within the

    previously known requirement that elided phrases express semantically Given information, I argue

    that this generalization results from the fact that the head of an elided phrase must itself express Given

    informationwhether or not the head surfaces as phonologically null.

  • iii


    Dans cette tude, on considre en dtail une construction que j'appelle L'lision d'une

    expression verbale sans l'lision du verbe principal (anglais V-Stranding VP Ellipsis ). Cette

    construction est tudie ici, spcifiquement, dans deux sens distincts.

    Dans le chaptre 2, on propose des diagnostics grce auxquels on peut identifier la

    construction lision d'une expression verbale ( EEV , anglais VP Ellipsis ), que le verbe

    principal dans l'expression verbale soit manifeste ou lid. On soutient que ces diagnostics peuvent

    tre utiliss pour liminer la possibilit que les donnes pertinentes soient des exemples d'autres types

    d'anaphore nulle, tels que argument du verbe nul, le Stripping , le Gapping , et le Null

    Complement Anaphora . Ainsi, on propose dans cette section que l'EEV sans llision du verbe

    dans les grammaires de l'hbreu, de l'irlaindais et du swahili forme une classe naturelle avec lEEV

    avec llision du verbe en anglais. On soutient aussi que cette construction n'xistent pas en japonais,

    en coren, en espagnol, ou en italienne.

    Ensuite, on considre la question de comment gnrer les exemples d'EEV sans llision du

    verbe. Dans les chaptres 3 et 4, on propose une analyse qui utilise la suppression d'une expression

    verbale au niveau de la Forme Phonologique ( la suppression FP , anglais PF Deletion ) aprs

    le dplacement du verbe principal une position en dehors de l'expression verbale, et on prsente une

    explication de la raison pour laquelle une analyse qui utilise des copies de la Forme Logique ( copie

    FL , anglais LF Copying ) n'est pas viable. Ceci implique, en partie, la Condition d'Identit

    Verbale, une gnralisation propose ici pour la premire fois, impliquant une identit stricte de la

    racine et dans la morphologie drivationnelle entre les verbes principaux des propositions

  • iv

    antcdentes et des propositions cibles. Dans le cadre de la condition connue selon laquelle les

    syntagmes lids expriment une information smantique donne (anglais Given ), je soutiens que

    la condition d'identit verbale rsulte du fait que la tte d'un syntagme lid doit elle-mme exprimer

    l'information donne smantiquementque la tte soit phonologiquement manifeste ou nulle.

  • v


    The number of people who have helped me get to this point, and helped me bring this thesisinto existence, is remarkable.

    My deepest thanks go to my supervisor, Lisa deMena Travis. She has been a source ofsupport and encouragement from the start of my time at McGill, and has been an anchor for me asI struggled to work on and complete this piece of work. Her insights into the workings of headmovement, and her intuitions into the underlying workings of the languages and data involved, havebeen invaluable during this entire process. It is an understatement to say that I would not have madeit to this point without her.

    I owe much as well to Jason Merchant, who generously agreed to serve on my thesiscommittee, despite the fact that he is at the University of Chicago. During both my time in Montraland the year I spent in Chicago, he has been an invaluable source of knowledge and information. Hisencouragement and supportand his belief that this project was worthwhile and importanthavebeen invaluable as well.

    My thanks also to Nigel Duffield, the third member of my committee, to Brendan Gillon, PeterHallman and Jon Nissenbaum, who served on my defense committee, and to Norvin Richards and JimMcGilvray, who served as external examiners. All have given me good points to think about for thetime to come.

    This dissertation's existence and approach owe a fundamental debt to the questions posed tome by Jim McCloskey and Jorge Hankamer at the oral defense of my UC Santa Cruz MA thesis. Andmy own existence and approach as a linguist and academic owe just as much to education and supportthat they, Sandy Chung, and Judith Aissen have given me. Their work with me during my time atUCSC (along with that of the other faculty and community of the department) went far beyondanything that a BA and then MA student could have imagined. Their presence and guidance after Ileft has been an extraordinary gift.

    The tack taken by this thesis and in my earlier, related research on Hebrew Null Objects owesa great debt to the initial study of these phenomena carried out by Edit Doron (1990, 1999). It isnoteworthy that the profile of both Hebrew VP Ellipsis and Hebrew Null Objects which emerges hereis entirely consistent with the majority of claims originally made in Doron (1990).

    Portions of the material in this thesis have also benefitted from comments and discussion withlinguists outside my committee. I am particularly grateful to Kyle Johnson, Chris Kennedy, Jeff Lidz,Line Mikkelsen, Gregory Ward, and, most especially, to Joey Sabbagh and to The Task Master. Mydeepest thanks as well to Beverly Bouwsma of Berkeley, California, for the wonderful gift of a quietand sane place to work during this projects last and most difficult stages.

  • Goldberg


    I very gratefully acknowledge the time, patience, and insights contributed by the native Hebrewspeakers with whom I have worked during my time at McGill. All new Hebrew data included herewere elicited from them, and neither this thesis nor the other work on Hebrew which I completed atMcGill would exist without them. They include Yifat Mamut, Itsik Romano, Tal Shor, Shiri Ofir,Carmela Aigen, Chava Dienar, Roy Chorev, Hidai Friedman, Cigal Gabbay, Rony Greenberg, andZohar Mamut.

    This thesis owes an enormous debt to the staff of McGill's McLennan-Redpath InterlibraryLoan office, who handled my endless requests with remarkable speed and good humor. Without theirefforts, the scope for which I have aimed would have remained far beyond my reach. Finally, Igratefully acknowledge the support of portions of this thesis and of some of my earlier McGill workfrom SSHRCC research grants 410-93-0897 to Lisa deMena Travis and 410-99-0902 to JonathanDavid Bobaljik.

    Turning to my student life outside the dissertation itself, I am grateful to the larger communityof McGill faculty (past and present) for their courses, discussions, and support of all kinds: JulieAuger, Mark Baker, Jonathan Bobaljik, Charles Boberg, Veena Dwivedi, Brendan Gillon, HeatherGoad, Yosef Grodzinsky, Eva Kehayia, Michel Paradis, Glyne Piggott, Lydia White, and SusiWurmbrand. Et, Michel, merci mille fois pour lassistance avec le rsum!

    Although Mark Baker left McGill shortly after I arrived here, he has remained a source ofinsight and encouragementparticularly during a meeting with him at a crucial moment for me duringthe summer of 2001. I thank Jonathan Bobaljik for the time and effort which he invested into myearlier work on Hebrew Null Objects. Some of the content from that work is included in Chapter 2in more developed form, and much of the thinking which I did during that time has influenced myapproach here in obvious ways. My thanks also to Brendan Gillon for his insights into logic andsemantics, and for being consistently willing to discuss various theoretical viewpoints andmethodological issues with me and others in the department. And lots of thanks to Glyne Piggott andLydia White for their assistance with and support of my departmental and teaching progress andduring my time here.

    My thanks to Lise Vinette, Andria De Luca, and Linda Suen for assistance with all aspects ofmy departmental life.

    Outside McGill, I am grateful to various other Montral linguists for their support andkind

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