Cleaving the interactions between sluicing and P-stranding

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Merchant (2001) proposes that preposition stranding under sluicing is allowed only in those languages that also allow P-stranding in regular wh- questions. Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese (BP) seem to falsify this generalization, as both are non-Pstranding languages that allow P-stranding under sluicing. Our claim is that, despite initial appearances, Spanish and BP do not constitute counterexamples to Merchant’s generalization. We propose that there are two sources of sluicing in Romance: wh-movement plus IP-deletion (Merchant 2001), and clefting plus IP deletion (Merchant 1998), the latter being the underlying source for P-stranding sluicing. The apparent P-stranding effect follows from the fact that, as opposed to regular interrogatives, clefts in BP and Spanish do not involve P-stranding at all. We reinforce this conclusion by showing that, in those cases where a cleft base is independently banned, P-stranding under sluicing becomes impossible too.


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