Structural economy in the processing and representation Of gapping sentences
The processing of ellipsis sentences can provide clues to their structure, as their structure can influence their processing. We present two studies examining the processing of a previously unexplored subclass of ellipsis sentence, gapping sentences in which one of the remnants is a preposed PP (PPGs). Like some other gapping structures, PPGs are ambiguous between readings in which a DP remnant is interpreted as a subject or as an object. However, we find that PPGs exhibit a weaker and more flexible object bias than other ambiguous gapping sentences ( Carlson 2001a, 2002), one comparable to clausal ellipsis constructions like comparatives and replacives. We argue that this result supports the syntactic assumption that gapping is a nonuniform phenomenon: PPGs involve clausal conjunction on either reading, much like comparative ellipsis, while regular gapping has a nonellipsis alternative ( Johnson 1996), which underlies the strong preference for an object reading.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Katy Carlson Morehead State University 419 Combs, EFLP Department Morehead, KY 40351 USA, Email: [email protected] 2: Michael Walsh Dickey Northwestern University Aphasia & Neurolinguistics Research Laboratory Dept. of Communication Sciences & Disorders 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208-3066 USA, Email: [email protected] 3: Christopher Kennedy University of Chicago Department of Linguistics 1010 E 59th Street Chicago, IL 60637 USA, Email: [email protected]
Publication date: December 1, 2005