The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling-Lunch 12/5 - Juliet Stanton

Speaker: Juliet Stanton
Title: Constraints on English preposition stranding
Date/Time: Thursday, Dec 5, 12:30-1:45p
Location: 32-D461

In this talk, I discuss an asymmetry in English preposition stranding, illustrated by the following contrasts:

(1) Which bench were you sitting on?
Which holiday do you eat lamb on?

(2) Not a single bench will I ever sit on.
*Not a single holiday will I ever eat lamb on.

I show that the ability of a given preposition (P) to be stranded is partially dependent on whether or not P accepts a pronoun as its complement, i.e. whether or not P is an antipronominal context (Postal 1998). Certain A-bar extractions permit stranding of antipronominal Ps, while others do not.

I extend the theory of wholesale late merger (Takahashi 2006, Takahashi & Hulsey 2009) and propose that while a subset of A-bar extractions obligatorily leave full copies in the base position, others don’t. I show that this proposal derives the observed restrictions on P-stranding, and present some additional evidence in support of the analysis.