The Department of Linguistics at Yale will be hosting a workshop on ellipsis on Saturday, April 22nd, 2017.

Please register here (Registration is free, but please register so we have a headcount!) 

The goal of this workshop is to address issues surrounding the analysis of sluicing, an ellipsis construction in which a constituent interrogative clause is unpronounced save for the Wh-phrase (Ross 1969, Merchant 2001):

(1) Mary spoke with some boy, but I don’t know who.

Some important extant issues that will be touched on are as follows (a non-exhaustive list!). 

  • What is the nature of the identity condition that must hold between the elided XP and its linguistic antecedent? There is currently no consensus as to the nature of this identity condition (see e.g., Lipták 2015 for a recent survey of various approaches). 
  • What is the nature of Wh-movement under ellipsis. Does Wh-movement proceed as normal (i.e. successive cyclically) under ellipsis (Merchant 2001, Agüero-Bautista 2007), or does it take place in one fell swoop (e.g., Fox and Lasnik 2003, Messick and Thoms 2016)? This issue is also related to the identity condition, since it would appear in many cases that there is no parallel movement in the antecedent clause. 
  • Another issue concerns locality effects in sluicing. Since Ross 1969, it has been known that sluicing appears to suspend certain locality constraints active in non-elliptical Wh-movement (more broadly known as “island-repair”). Is island repair real? Yes: Merchant 2001 (for some islands), 2008, Chomsky 1972, Fox and Lasnik 2003. No: Merchant 2001 (for some islands), Fukaya 2007, Barros et al. 2014.

The workshop will also focus heavily on multiple sluicing (Takahashi 1994), that is, sluicing with more than one Wh-phrase remnant.

(2) Everyone was dancing, but I can’t recall who with whom. 

The workshop aims to advance our understanding of sluicing by exploring looming extant issues in the domain of the multiple sluicing construction: the analysis of such constructions bears on the nature of the identity condition, since antecedents for multiple sluices often contain quantified elements missing in the ellipsis clause. Additionally, multiple sluices raise questions about the nature of Wh-movement under ellipsis, since multiple sluicing is attested also in languages that lack multiple Wh-fronting (for English, see Lasnik 2014, and Rodrigues et al 2009 for Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese). Multiple sluicing is (perhaps surprisingly) also subject to more stringent locality constraints than regular sluicing, where multiple Wh-phrase survivors must be clause-mates. 

The workshop will take place on April 22nd, from 10 AM to 6:30 PM, followed by a workshop dinner. 

Stay tuned for a program and additional details. If you plan on attending, please RSVP by filling out this form.


Organizers: Matt Barros, Hadas Kotek, and Bob Frank.