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Adverbs in VP ellipsis: an experimental investigation of antecedent selection

  • Keir Moulton (a1)


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).


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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.



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Adverbs in VP ellipsis: an experimental investigation of antecedent selection

  • Keir Moulton (a1)


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