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Dissertation

The syntax and licensing of Gapping and Fragmenting

This study investigates the syntax and distribution of the two elliptical phenomena Gapping and Fragments, as well as the movements involved in ellipsis contexts in general.

Author
Enrico Boone
Date
05 November 2014
Links
Published by LOT
Full text available at the Leiden University Repository

This study investigates the syntax and distribution of the two elliptical phenomena Gapping and Fragments, as well as the movements involved in ellipsis contexts in general. Gapping is an ellipsis type that occurs in coordinations and leaves two remnants (e.g. John eats rice and Bill Spaghetti). Fragments, on the other hand, involves a response to a previous statement. A fragment can be an answer to a question, an elaboration or a correction (an example of a corrective fragment: A: John left. B: No, Peter.) The main contribution of this study is that, although there are superficial differences between them, Gapping and Fragments actually constitute the same type of ellipsis.

This thesis consists of three main parts. In the first part, it is argued that the syntax of Gapping and Fragments is identical. Specifically, it is shown that in both Gapping and Fragments, there is syntactic structure in the ellipsis site out of which the remnants move prior to ellipsis. In the second part it is argued that the licensing condition on ellipsis holds at the discourse component and that, from a discourse perspective, the distribution of Gapping and Fragments is identical. Given that the syntax and distribution of Gapping and Fragments is the same, it follows that Gapping and Fragments should not be formally distinguished in a theory of ellipsis. The final part of this study is concerned with the movements of the remnant elements of ellipsis. Answers are provided to questions such as why these movements are often impossible in non-elliptical contexts and what it is that triggers these movements.

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