Syntactic accounts of ellipsis require an elided constituent to have a syntactically matching antecedent at LF. Such accounts undergenerate. Many attested examples of ellipsis do not contain a completely parallel antecedent for the elided constituent. A processing approach to this undergeneration problem will be proposed: when the discourse does not contain a matching antecedent for an elided constituent, the processor builds one at LF using the materials at hand (Arregui, Clifton, Frazier and Moulton, 2006). On this approach, some instances of ellipsis will be acceptable even though there is no pre-existing matching antecedent simply because the processor can create one at LF using its normal mechanisms, e.g., those needed for performing syntactic reanalysis of garden path sentences. Non-matching antecedents of elided constituents are claimed to be particularly acceptable when they correspond to natural speech errors (syntactic blends) and when they instantiate contrasts set up by a non-actuality implicature.
Proceedings of the 26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Charles B. Chang and Hannah J. Haynie
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