Matt Barros and Hadas Kotek present at GLOW
Postdoc Matt Barros and Lecturer Hadas Kotek presented at the poster session of the Generative Linguistics in the Old World (GLOW) conference. Their poster, entitled “Scope restrictions in multiple sluicing and ellipsis licensing,” discusses the contrast between the following sentences. While the first sentence is not a well-formed sentence of English, the remaining three are.
- * Some boy likes every girl, but I don’t know which boy which girl.
- Some boy likes every girl, but I don’t know which boy likes which girl.
- Every boy likes some girl, but I don’t know which boy which girl.
- Every boy likes some girl, but I don’t know which boy likes which girl.
Sluicing is grammatical process in which a part of an embedded clause containing wh-words such as which is left silent. In the four sentences above, the clause containing which is embedded in a clause containing either some boy likes every girl or every boy likes some girl. The verb likes can be left silent if the outer clause contains every boy likes some girl, but not if the outer clause contains some boy likes every girl.
Traditionally, it has been believed that sluicing can only occur if the structure of embedded clause is congruent to the outer clause in a certain way. Matt and Hadas’s poster analyzes the structures of the four sentences above, and shows that theories of structural congruence would predict sluicing to be allowed in both the first and the third sentence. On the other hand, the poster argues that if we assume that a congruency between the meaning of the embedded clause and the outer clause can permit sluicing, then sluicing should be prohibited in the first sentence but allowed in the third sentence, as the data show.
The GLOW conference was held from March 14 to 18 in Leiden, Netherlands, and the poster session was held on March 14. The abstract for the poster and full program for the poster session are available on the conference website.