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Foundational Issues in Linguistic TheoryEssays in Honor of Jean-Roger Vergnaud$
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Robert Freidin, Carlos P. Otero, and Maria Luisa Zubizarreta

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262062787

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262062787.001.0001

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Ellipsis and Missing Objects

Ellipsis and Missing Objects

(p.251) 10 Ellipsis and Missing Objects
Foundational Issues in Linguistic Theory

Joseph Aoun

Yen-hui Audrey Li

The MIT Press

Ellipsis phenomena in natural language involve instances of meaning without sound as they do, and their interpretation requires the presence of some covert structure. The central issue for a theory of ellipsis is to determine how this structure is constructed. Within generative grammar, two competing theories have been proposed: a PF deletion approach and an interpretive approach. In the former, the ellipsis results from the deletion of a fully specified construct in forming PF, whereas in the latter, the ellipsis site contains a lexically empty categorial structure whose interpretation is derived from a corresponding structure containing lexical material. Drawing on data from Mandarin Chinese, this chapter argues in favor of the interpretive approach. It considers two types of elliptical constructions in Chinese: the Aux-construction, in which ellipsis arises after an auxiliary in the second conjunct, and the V-construction, in which ellipsis involves a missing object.

Keywords:   ellipsis, natural language, generative grammar, missing object, Mandarin Chinese, Aux-construction, V-construction, PF deletion approach, interpretive approach

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