Morphology & Syntax Workshop

October 4, 2019 | 11:30AM
Cobb 302

Jason Merchant will present “Dutch P-stranding and ellipsis: a wrinkle ironed out” (joint work with Güliz Günes and Anikó Lipták.

The surprising ban on preposition stranding by R-pronominals such as waar in (1) under sluicing in Dutch has remained without a compelling analysis. While an R-pronoun can strand its preposition in non-elliptical contexts at a distance, it cannot do this when the stranded preposition is contained in an elided clause (Merchant 2001). We show that the observed ban cannot be attributed to a prosodic problem, concerning either the (de)accentuation of the stranded preposition or that of the overt R-pronoun, nor to any plausible syntactic problem. Instead we propose a novel morphotactic analysis where the Vocabulary Entry for R-pronouns is the locus for the condition that R-pronouns precede their selecting prepositions: ellipsis of the preposition bleeds the insertion rule. (Notes for discussion: 1. It’s precedence, not adjacency, that matters. 2. The selection relation has to be visible.)


(1) Hij kijkt ergens naar (‘He is looking at something’), …                                                                                                        

a.  maar   ik         weet     niet                  waarR,i  hij        [PP        naar     ti ]        kijkt.

   but     I           know    not                   where   he                    at              look

 ‘He is looking at something, but I don’t know what he is looking at.’

            b.         maar    ik         weet     niet      { waar /* waarR }.

                        but      I           know   not         where where


            i. * ‘He is looking at something, but I don’t know what he is looking at.’

    ii. ‘He is looking at something, but I don’t know where he is looking at something.’