Linguistic Variation Yearbook 2010
  • ISSN 1568-1483
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9900
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In this paper I propose that ellipsis is licensed by overt movement. Examining variation in VP-ellipsis across English dialects, I show that movement is crucially implicated in whether or not a given element can license ellipsis. I discuss well-known restrictions on VP-ellipsis and present new data that shows that a movement-based account of these restrictions is superior to previous ones. I show that the proposed account can be extended to other cases involving A′ movement with empirical benefits, and I conclude by sketching the technical implementation of the theory, arguing that ellipsis is a ‘repair’ operation that prevents a linearization failure following non-deletion of a lower copy. I suggest that types of movement that are unable to spell out lower copies (i.e. A-movement) do not license ellipsis, thus explaining ellipsis licensing in terms of general conditions on copy deletion. Keywords: ellipsis licensing; VP-ellipsis; sluicing; Copy Theory of Movement; A/A′-distinction


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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