The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

MIT Colloquium 4/5: Simon Charlow (Rutgers)

Speaker: Simon Charlow (Rutgers)
Title: Local contexts in ellipsis
Time: Friday, April 5th, 4pm-5:30pm
Location: 32-155

Abstract: This talk advocates a specific semantic implementation of discourse congruence (Rooth 1992, Schwarzschild 1999), which plays a central role in the licensing of ‘anaphoric’ reduction (i.e., ellipsis and deaccenting). I argue that congruence is checked compositionally, and that satisfaction of congruence is determined extensionally — that is, in a local context. I show how this leads to significant simplifications in the theory of reduction licensing, allowing us to dispense with otherwise necessary prohibitions on Meaningless Coindexing (Sag 1976, Heim 1997) and Redundancy within an assignment (cf. Schlenker 2005), and to strengthen the relationship between an elided phrase and its antecedent to one of pure identity.
I consider several consequences of my proposal for the formulation of congruence operators, arguing that it compels us to take their anaphoric character seriously, while allowing for ex post facto (i.e., post-suppositional) linking of congruence operators to their ‘antecedents’. And I explore some consequences of these moves for restrictions on antecedent-contained deletion (Kennedy 1994) and the puzzling phenomenon of focused bound pronouns (Sauerland 1998).