Title

Syntactic Focus Movement and ellipsis: A minimalist approach

Date of Completion

January 1997

Keywords

Language, Linguistics

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The goal of this thesis is to explore focusing effects in the phenomenon of ellipsis within a minimalist framework (Chomsky 1993, 1995).^ In chapter 2, I explore Pseudogapping constructions in English vs. Korean/Japanese. Lasnik (1995, 1997) argues that English Pseudogapping is VP ellipsis, with the remnants having moved to Spec of Agr in overt syntax, in a split VP structure (Koizumi 1995). In the first part, I examine Lasnik's theory. In the second part, I observe that there is a similar construction to English Pseudogapping in Korean/Japanese. I argue that pseudogapped remnants in Korean/Japanese move out of the ellipsis site via syntactic focus movement. Given the standard minimalist assumption that all movements are driven by feature checking, focus movement will also have to be driven by a feature, (+focus). I define (+focus) as a formal feature which represents accented new information. I assume that Foc(us)P is placed above TP in Korean/Japanese, and argue that the focused constituent undergoes syntactic focus movement. In short, I argue that Korean/Japanese Pseudogapping is syntactic focus movement followed by VP ellipsis.^ In chapter 3, I investigate Sluicing in Japanese/Korean vs. English. I argue that Japanese/Korean Sluicing is syntactic focus movement followed by TP ellipsis or VP ellipsis. The second part is devoted to Sluicing in English. Based on the observation that Sluicing is allowed only in interrogative WH-clauses, I argue that English Sluicing is syntactic focus movement plus WH-movement followed by TP ellipsis.^ In chapter 4, I explore Gapping constructions in Korean/Japanese vs. English. I argue that Gapping in Korean/Japanese is syntactic focus movement followed by TP ellipsis. In the second part. I argue that Gapping in English is syntactic focus movement followed by TP ellipsis. In sum, I argue that Gapping in these languages is an instance of incomplete TP ellipsis, with the remnants having moved out of the ellipsis site via syntactic focus movement. ^