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Bookmark and Share Paper 3039

On the Non-existence of Non-constituent Coordination and Non-constituent Ellipsis
Craig Sailor and Gary Thoms
361-370 (complete paper or proceedings contents)

Abstract

Sentences such as John spoke to Mary on Thursday and Bill on Friday appear to involve coordination of non-constituents, and as such they present a challenge to prevailing assumptions in syntactic theory that the grammar only operates on constituents. This paper argues that such sentences do not involve literal non-constituent coordination, nor are they derived from constituent coordination reduced by non-constituent ellipsis, as some have proposed. Instead, it is argued here that the second conjunct in these coordinations is larger than it looks: it is a vP or a CP, but it has been reduced by constituent ellipsis following focus movement of the individual XPs that comprise its pronounced material to a left-peripheral position in that conjunct. In support of this analysis, ample evidence is presented showing that the second conjuncts in such coordinations exhibit telltale signs of movement (including sensitivity to islands, P-stranding, etc.), a fact which cannot be explained by approaches involving true coordination of non-constituents, nor those involving in-situ deletion of non-constituents. Thus, the appearance of non-constituency in such sentences is illusory, and these cases are added to the growing list of phenomena with similar "move-and-delete" derivations in the literature, including (pseudo)gapping, stripping, fragment answers, etc. This addition helps refine the empirical profile of the move-and-delete natural class, and it is suggested here that a unified analysis of such phenomena can and should be pursued.

Published in

Proceedings of the 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Robert E. Santana-LaBarge
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00