Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Adverbs in VP ellipsis: an experimental investigation of antecedent selection

  • Keir Moulton (a1)

Abstract

This paper presents a case study of verb phrase ellipses with adverbially modified antecedents. It is shown experimentally that there is a preference for resolving ellipses in certain embedded clauses with unmodified VPs. The effect is hypothesized to reflect a general requirement to minimize the complexity of accommodated content. Four experiments support this hypothesis over plausible candidate hypotheses, including syntactic approaches to the effect (Matsuo 2001; Sailor 2014).

Cet article présente une étude de cas d'ellipses de syntagmes verbaux avec des antécédents modifiés de façon adverbiale. Il est démontré expérimentalement qu'il existe une préférence pour la résolution des ellipses dans certaines propositions enchâssées avec des SV non modifiés. On propose que cet effet provient d'une exigence générale visant à minimiser la complexité du contenu accommodé. Quatre expériences soutiennent cette hypothèse par rapport a d'autres hypothéses plausibles, y compris des analyses syntaxiques du phénomène (Matsuo 2001; Sailor 2014).

Copyright

Corresponding author

Footnotes

Hide All

This article expands on results initially reported in a NELS proceedings paper (Moulton 2008). In addition to presenting two new experiments, the present article situates the results within more recent work on the topic, especially Sailor (2014). I would like to thank Tanie Cheng for assistance in conducting Experiment 4. I would also like to thank Chuck Clifton, Lyn Frazier, Kyle Johnson, Andrea Santi, Florian Schwarz and three anonymous reviewers. This work was partially supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant 430-2014-01034 to the author.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Aelbrecht, Lobke, and Harwood, William. 2015. To be or not to be elided: VP ellipsis revisited. Lingua 153: 6697.
Akmajian, Adrian, and Wasow, Thomas. 1975. The constituent structure of VP and AUX and the position of the verb be. Linguistic Analysis 1(3): 205245.
Alexiadou, Artemis. 1997. Adverb Placement: A case study in antisymmetric syntax. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Altmann, Gerry, and Steedman, Mark. 1988. Interaction with context during human sentence processing. Cognition 30(3): 191238.
Baayen, Harald R., Davidson, Douglas J., and Bates, Douglas M.. 2008. Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items. Journal of Memory and Language 59(4): 390412.
Baltin, Mark. 1987. Do antecedent-contained deletions exist? Linguistic Inquiry 18(4): 579596.
Barr, Dale J., Levy, Roger, Scheepers, Christoph, and Tily, Harry J.. 2013. Random effects structure for confirmatory hypothesis testing: Keep it maximal. Journal of Memory and Language 68(3): 255278.
Bates, Douglas M. 2005. Fitting linear mixed models in R: Using the lme4 package. R News: The Newsletter of the R Project 5: 2730.
Beaver, David, and Condoravdi, Cleo. 2003. A Uniform Analysis of Before and After. In Proceedings of SALT XIII, ed. Young, Robert B. and Zhou, Yuping, 3754. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.
Bever, Thomas. 1970. The cognitive basis for linguistic structures. In Cognition and the development of language, ed. Hayes, John R., 279362. New York: Wiley.
Bouton, L. F. 1970. Antecedent contained pro-forms. In Papers from the sixth regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society, 154167. Chicago: Chicago Linguistics Society.
Caponigro, Ivano. 2004. The semantic contribution of wh-words and type shifts: Evidence from free relatives crosslinguistically. In Proceedings of SALT XIV, ed. Young, Robert B., 3855. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.
Caponigro, Ivano, Pearl, Lisa. 2009. The nominal nature of Where, When, and How: Evidence from free relatives. Linguistic Inquiry 40(1): 155164.
Carlson, Gregory N. 1977. Amount relatives. Language 53(3): 520542.
Carlson, Katy. 2003. Parallelism and prosody in the processing of ellipsis sentences. New York: Routledge.
Chung, Sandra. 2013. Syntactic identity and sluicing: How much and why. Linguistic Inquiry 44(1): 144.
Cinque, Guglielmo. 1999. Adverbs and functional heads: A cross-linguistic perspective. New York: Oxford University Press.
Condoravdi, Cleo. 2010. NPI-licensing in temporal clauses. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 28(4): 877910.
Crain, Stephen, and Steedman, Mark. 1985. On not being led up the garden path: The use of context by the psychological parser. In Natural language parsing, ed. Dowty, David, Karttunen, Lauri and Zwicky, Arnold, 94128. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Diesing, Molly. 1992. Bare plural subjects and the derivation of logical representations. Linguistic Inquiry 23(3): 353380.
Emonds, Joseph. 1979. Appositive relatives have no properties. Linguistic Inquiry 10(2): 211243.
Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka, and Kotek, Hadas. 2016. A streamlined approach to online linguistic surveys. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 34(2): 481495.
Ernst, Thomas. 2001. The syntax of adjuncts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fiengo, Robert, and May, Robert. 1994. Indices and Identity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
von Fintel, Kai. 2004. Would you believe it? The king of France is back! In Descriptions and beyond, ed. Reimer, Marga and Bezuidenhout, Anne, 315341. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Fox, Danny. 2000. Economy and semantic interpretation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Fox, Danny. 2002. Antecedent-contained deletion and the copy theory of movement. Linguistic Inquiry 33(1): 6396.
Fox, Danny, and Nissenbaum, Jon. 1999. Extraposition and scope: A case for overt QR. In Proceedings of the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics 18, ed. Bird, Sonya, Carnie, Andrew, Haugen, Jason D. and Norquest, Peter, 132144. Somerville, Massachusetts: Cascadilla Press.
Fox, Danny, and Nissenbaum, Jon. 2003. VP ellipsis and the position of adverbs. Snippets 7: 78.
Fox, Danny, and Takahashi, Shoichi. 2005. MaxElide and the re-binding problem. In Proceedings of SALT 15, ed. Georgala, Effi and Howell, Jonathan, 223240. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.
Frazier, Lyn. 1978. On comprehending sentences: Syntactic parsing strategies. Doctoral dissertation, University of Connecticut, Storrs.
Frazier, Lyn, and Clifton, Charles. 2001. Parsing coordinates and ellipsis: Copy α. Syntax 4(1): 122.
Frazier, Lyn, and Clifton, Charles. 2005. The syntax-discourse divide: Processing ellipsis. Syntax 8(2): 121174.
Frazier, Lyn, and Clifton, Charles. 2006. Ellipsis and discourse coherence. Linguistcs and Philosophy 29(3): 415–346.
Frazier, Lyn, and Clifton, Charles. 2011. Dynamic interpretation: Finding an antecedent for VPE. In Processing linguistic structure: University of Massachusetts occasional papers in linguistics 38, ed. Harris, Jesse and Grant, Margaret, 2336. Amherst, MA: GLSA.
Frazier, Lyn, Clifton, Charles, and Munn, Alan. 2000. Parsing coordinate structures. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 29(4): 343370.
Grice, H. P. 1975. Logic and conversation. In Syntax and Semantics, vol. 3: Speech acts, ed. Cole, Peter and Morgan, Jerry L., 4158. New York: Academic Press.
Grodner, Daniel, Gibson, Edward, and Watson, Duane. 2005. The influence of contextual contrast on syntactic processing: Evidence for strong-interaction in sentence comprehension. Cognition 95(3): 275296.
Hackl, Martin, Koster-Hale, Jorie, and Varvoutis, Jason. 2012. Quantification and ACD: Evidence from real-time sentence processing. Journal of Semantics 29(2): 145206.
Hall, David P., and Caponigro, Ivano. 2010. On the semantics of temporal when-clauses. In Proceedings of SALT 20, ed. Li, Nan and Lutz, David, 544563. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.
Hardt, Daniel, and Romero, Maribel. 2004. Ellipsis and the structure of discourse. Journal of Semantics 21(4): 375414.
Harley, Heidi. 2002. WCO, ACD, and QR of DPs. Linguistic Inquiry 33(4): 659664.
Heim, Irene. 1982. The semantics of definite and indefinite Noun Phrases. Doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Heim, Irene. 1987. Where does the definiteness restriction apply? Evidence from the definiteness of variables. In The representation of (in)definiteness, ed. Reuland, Eric J. and ter Meulen, Alice G. B., 2142. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Heim, Irene. 1991. Artikel und Definitheit [Articles and definiteness]. In Semantik: Ein internationales Handbuch der Zeitgenüssischen Forschung [Semantics: An international handbook of contemporary research], ed. von Stechow, Arnim and Wunderlich, Dieter, 487535. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Hestvik, Arild. 1995. Reflexives and ellipsis. Natural Language Semantics 3(2): 211237.
Jackendoff, Ray. 1972. Semantic interpretation in generative grammar. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Jacobson, Pauline. 2008. Direct compositionality and variable-free semantics: The case of antecedent-contained deletion. In Topics in ellipsis, ed. Johnson, Kyle, 3068. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jacobson, Pauline, and Gibson, Edward. 2014. Processing of ACD gives no evidence for QR. In Semantics and Linguistic Theory, Vol. 24, 156176.
Jaeger, T. Florian. 2008. Categorical data analysis: Away from ANOVAs (transformation or not) and towards logit mixed models. Journal of Memory and Language 59(4): 434446.
Karttunen, Lauri. 1974. Presuppositions and linguistic context. Theoretical Linguistics 1(1–3): 181194.
Kehler, Andrew. 2000. Coherence and the resolution of ellipsis. Linguistics and Philosophy 23(6): 533575.
Kehler, Andrew. 2002. Coherence, reference, and the theory of grammar. Stanford: CSLI Publications.
Kim, Christina S., Kobele, Gregory M., Runner, Jeffrey T., and Hale, John T.. 2011. The acceptability cline in VP ellipsis. Syntax 14(4): 318354.
Lappin, Shalom, and Reinhart, Tanya. 1988. Presuppositional effects of strong determiners: A processing account. Linguistics 26(6): 10211038.
Larson, Richard. 1988. On the double object construction. Linguistic Inquiry 19(3): 335392.
Larson, Richard K. 2004. Sentence-final adverbs and “scope”. In Proceedings of the North East Linguistic Society 34, ed. Moulton, Keir and Wolf, Matthew, Vol. 1, 2344. Amherst, MA: GLSA.
Lasnik, Howard. 1999. Minimalist analysis. Oxford: Blackwell.
Lebeaux, David. 1990. Relative clauses, licensing, and the nature of the derivation. In Proceedings of the North East Linguistic Society 20, ed. Carter, Juli, Déchaine, Rose-Marie, Philip, Bill, and Sherer, Tim, 318332. Amherst, MA: GLSA.
Lewis, David. 1979. Scorekeeping in a language game. Journal of Philosophical Logic 8(1): 339359.
Link, Godehard. 1983. The logical analysis of plurals and mass terms: A lattice-theoretical approach. In Meaning, use and interpretation of language, ed. Baeuerle, R., Schwarze, C., and von Stechow, Arnim. Berlin: DeGruyter.
Matsuo, Ayumi. 2001. Asp-shell Structure in VP-ellipsis and ACD. In Proceedings of WCCFL 20, ed. Megerdoomian, Karine and Bar-el, Leora Anne, 20, 386399. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
May, Robert. 1985. Logical form: Its structure and derivation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
McCawley, James D. 1981. The syntax and semantics of English relative clauses. Lingua 53(2): 99149.
Merchant, Jason. 2001. The syntax of silence: Sluicing, islands, and the theory of ellipsis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Merchant, Jason. 2008. Variable island repair under ellipsis. In Topics in ellipsis, ed. Johnson, Kyle, 132153. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Merchant, Jason. 2013. Voice and ellipsis. Linguistic Inquiry 44(1): 77108.
Morzycki, Marcin. 2008. Nonrestrictive modifiers in nonparenthetical positions. In Adjectives and adverbs: Syntax, semantics, and discourse, ed. Kennedy, Chris and McNally, Louise, 101122. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Moulton, Keir. 2008. Small antecedents: Syntax or pragmatics? In Proceedings of the thirty-seventh annual meeting of the North East Linguistics Society, ed. Elfner, Emily and Walkow, Martin, vol. 1, 4558. Amherst, MA: GLSA.
Ni, Weijia. 1996. Sidestepping garden paths: Assessing the contributions of syntax, semantics and plausibility in resolving ambiguities. Language and Cognitive Processes 11(3): 283334.
Pesetsky, David. 1995. Zero syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Pesetsky, David. 2000. Phrasal movement and its kin. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Peterson, Philip. 1997. Fact, Proposition, Event. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Portner, Paul. 1989. Processing indefinite noun phrases in quantified sentences. In Five College Cognitive Science Paper, vol. 89. Amherst, MA: Five College Cognitive Science Program.
Potsdam, Eric. 1998. A Syntax for Adverbs. In Proceedings of the twenty-seventh Western Conference on Linguistics, ed. van Gelderen, Elly and Samiian, Vida, 397411. Fresno: Department of Linguistics, California State University, Fresno.
Potts, Christopher. 2002. The lexical semantics of parenthetical-as and appositive-which. Syntax 5(1): 5588.
Potts, Christopher. 2005. The logic of conventional implicature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
R Development Core Team. 2012. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. <http://www.R-project.org>.
Rooth, Mats. 1992. A theory of focus interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 1(1): 117121.
Sag, Ivan. 1976. Deletion and logical form. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Sailor, Craig. 2014. The variables of VP ellipsis. Doctoral dissertation, UCLA.
Schlenker, Philippe. 2004. Conditionals as definite descriptions. Research on Language and Computation 2(3): 417462.
Schlenker, Phillippe. 2005. Minimize Restrictors! Notes on definite descriptions, Condition C, and epithets. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 9, ed. Maier, Emar, Bary, Corien, and Huitink, Janneke, 385416. Nijmegen: Nijmegen Centre of Semantics.
Sedivy, Julie C. 2002. Invoking discourse-based contrast sets and resolving syntactic ambiguities. Journal of Memory and Language 46(2): 341370.
Sedivy, Julie C. 2003. Pragmatic versus form-based accounts of referential contrast: Evidence for effects of informativity expectations. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 32(1): 332.
Shaer, Benjamin. 2000. Syntactic position and the readings of ‘manner’ adverbs. In ZAS Papers in Linguistics 17, ed. Fabricius-Hansen, Catherine, Lang, Ewald, and Maienborn, Claudia, 265286. Berlin: Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft.
Sharvit, Yael. 2014. On the universal principles of tense embedding: The lesson from ‘before’. Journal of Semantics 31(2): 263313.
Spivey-Knowlton, Michael, and Sedivy, Julie C. 1995. Resolving attachment ambiguities with multiple constraints. Cognition 55(3): 227267.
Stalnaker, Robert. 1974. Pragmatic presuppositions. In Semantics and Philosophy, ed. Munitz, M. and Unger, P., 197214. New York: New York University Press.
Stalnaker, Robert. 2002. Common ground. Linguistics and Philosophy 25(5): 701721.
von Stechow, Arnim. 2002. Temporal prepositional phrases with quantifiers: Some additions to Pratt and Francez (2001). Linguistics and Philosophy 25(5–6): 755800.
von Stechow, Arnim. 2009. Tenses in compositional semantics. In The expression of time, ed. Klein, Wolfgang and Li, P., 129166. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Stroik, Thomas. 1990. Adverbs as V-sisters. Linguistic Inquiry 21(1): 654661.
Stroik, Thomas. 1996. Minimalism, scope, and VP structure. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Tancredi, Christopher. 1992. Deletion, deaccenting and presupposition. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Vanden Wyngærd, G., and Zwart, J.-W.. 1991. Reconstruction and Vehicle Change. Linguistics in the Netherlands 1: 151160.
Williams, Edwin. 1974. Rule ordering in syntax. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Keywords

Adverbs in VP ellipsis: an experimental investigation of antecedent selection

  • Keir Moulton (a1)

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed