Phase by Phase Givenness

Presentation Date: 

Friday, November 20, 2015


Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Presentation Slides: 

Some sluicing constructions that do not have an overt grammatical continuation, be it cleft, wh-movement. For example, Polish and Indonesian can omit  Prepositions in sluice constructions whose anaphor cannot be expressed in the form of a wh-expression or a cleft, or any type of overt movement (Sato 2011), (Nykiel 2013)

1.     Byłaś ubrana  w  czerwonego    tamtej nocy, ale nie pamiętam (w) co
       were dressed in something red       that night but not remember (in) what
          You were dressed in something red that night but I do not remember what’

2.     Saya ingat Ali   berdansa dengan seseorang, tapi  saya tidak tahu (dengan) siapa
       I remember Ali dance       with someone       but.      I      NEG know (with)      who  
    ‘I remember Ali danced with someone, but I don’t know (with) whom.’

However, P-omission is constrained. In multiple wh-remnants only the first Preposition can be dropped in Polish (3) sluices (Szczegielniak 2015),  and English discontinuous ellipsis (4) (Dowty 1988, Bruening 2015). The same holds for Spanish (5), but not Indonesian, where both P’s can be omitted (6).

3.     Jan podszedł do jakiegoś profesora po jakimś wykładzie ale nie wiem (do)  którego
    Jan  approached to some professor after some lecture  but not know  (to) which
    profesora *(po) jakim wykładzie        
    professor (after) what lecture
    ‘Jan approached some professor after some lecture but I do not know which professor after which lecture’
4.    Mary read a book about Nixon at the airport and (about) Reagan *(at) the train station.

5.      Juan leyó un libro sobre un político        en una biblioteca, pero no sé (sobre) qué            
Juan read a book about some politician in some librarybut   not know (about) which
    político *(en) qué biblioteca
     poilitician (in) which library
6.         Esti bilang kamu bicara dengan seseorang tentang sesuatu yang pentingdi sini, tapi             
Esti say     you     talk     with someone     about something that important   in here but
    saya tidak tahu (dengan) siapa (tentang) apa
             I NEG know (with) who       (about) what
    ‘Esti said that you were talking with someone about something important here, but I         don’t know who you were talking with about what.

Adopting a presuppositional account of Givenness (Sauerland 2005) that has a reflex in syntax (Kučerová 2012), I will propose a new way of licensing ellipsis based on phase-by-phase computation of Information Structure. Remnant movement licensing ellipsis can be local within its phase, but still subject to AvoidFocus! (Schwarzschild 1999). This will provide insight into not only P-omission but also new facts about Island alleviation. For example, the fact that island alleviation requires both remnants to be in the same phase as in (7a) vs (7b) in Polish, and (8a) vs (8b) in Spanish. 

7. a.     Oni zatrudnili lingwistę który podarował jakąś książkę jakiemuś profesorowi, ale nie         
They hired      linguist   who    gave         some book some         professor     but      not     
    wiem     [którą książkę] [któremu profesorowi]
               know which book        which      professor
     '*They hired a linguist who gave some book to some professor but I do not know  which book to which professor.'
*b.    Oni zatrudnili jakiegoś lingwistę który zna jakiś dialekt, ale nie wiem [którego             
 They hired    some linguist      who knows some dialect but not know   which
    lingwistę]1 [który dialekt]2
           linguist         which dialect
    '*They hired some linguist who knows some dialect but I do not know which linguist  which dialect.’

8. a.    Contrataron a un lingüista que le dio un libro a un profesor, pero no sé                        
            hired           a linguist who gave some book to some professor but not know
    qué libro     a qué profesor.
    which book to which professor

*b.     Contrataron a un lingüista que sabe un dialecto,    pero no sé        qué lingüista            
 hired some linguist           who knows some dialect but  not know which linguist
    qué dialecto.
    which dialect
The difference between Indonesian and Polish and Spanish will stem from the fact that Indonesian has a defective active v-phase that contains both remnants. This accounts for the inability of inner argument wh-movement when v is active (9a) vs (9b) when it is passive  (Aldridge 2008).

9. *a.     Apa yang Ali mem-beli?
    what C   Ali ACT-buy
    “What did Ali buy?”
b.              Apa yang di-beli (oleh) Ali?
    what C PASS-buy by Ali
    “What did Ali buy?”

Given time I will explore the relationship between wh-movement and local phase based focus movement in sluicing in the light of recent proposals in Kotek (2014).

Abstract Presented at Rutgers ST@R