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The timing of XP ellipsis is not fixed: Evidence from English

The timing of XP ellipsis is not fixed: Evidence from English

Some native speakers of English exhibit an asymmetry between matrix copular verb phrase ellipsis and embedded copular verb phrase ellipsis with respect to the extractability from the ellipsis site. In order to account for the asymmetry that cannot be captured under the existing derivational ellipsis approaches, this paper proposes a constraint on the timing of XP ellipsis they have - XP is elided when an E-feature on the head merging with XP becomes activated during the derivation and the activation occurs when all syntactic operations triggered by the ellipsis licensing head are completed. The proposal can explain how the presence or the absence of head movement of the ellipsis licensing head affects the availability of overt extraction out of the ellipsis site in English copular verb phrase ellipsis. This yields two theoretical implications: Firstly, the present discussion provides an additional argument for the claim that head movement takes place in narrow syntax. Furthermore, it suggests that head movement is goal-driven rather than probe-driven.

1. Introduction

2. English copular verb phrase ellipsis

3. When does ellipsis occur?

4. Implications: The nature of head movement

5. Conclusion

References

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