The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LF Reading Group 4/1 - Peter Grishin (MIT)

Speaker: Peter Grishin (MIT)
Title: Scrapping clauses with clausal anaphors
Time: Wednesday, April 1st, 1pm – 2pm
Location: Zoom

Abstract: I argue that an understudied variety of clausal ellipsis in English, in which the clausal complement of a clause-embedding verb goes missing,demonstrates the existence of a null ModP anaphor (in the binding-theoretic sense), which I’ll call PROModP. I call this kind of ellipsis “scrapping” (Sentential Complement Reduction in ACD Positions). I present a close study of the properties of scrapping, demonstrating that it isn’t Null Complement Anaphora, that it’s subject to a requirement that it appear in ACD environments, that the gap contains a structurally reduced clause that maximally contains a low modality phrase, and that scraps are subject to a requirement that their antecedent c-command them at LF. I argue that analyzing the gap as containing the following structure — [Op PROModP], an operator adjoined to PROModP — is able to predict this constellation of facts. The anaphoric properties of PROModP require that it receive its denotation from a c-commanding antecedent, and the requirement that PROModP be bound by a c-commanding ModP requires that it QR from within that ModP to adjoin to it, in order to be bound, thus deriving (a weak form of) the ACD generalization.