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Summary Ellipsis is the phenomenon of something (anything linguistic) being elided (left out, but implicated and understood).  Although at bottom it is a syntactic phenomenon, in its commonest forms it falls under the heading of conventional implicature, giving it a substantial semantic component.  For example, "John and Mary went to the beach."  It is usually understood, though not strictly speaking part of the sentence meaning, that they went to the beach together.  If they did so, the word "together" has been elided.  Here the ellipsis is principally semantic, because there are other coherent ways to understand the sentence.  Very often what is elided is obvious from the parallel structure common in linguistic discourse.  For example, "John and Mary went to the beach.  So did Paul and Jane."  In this case, "so" functions semantically (though, of course, not syntactically) as a pronominal construct.  The meaning is reconstructed as "Paul and Jane also went to the beach."  (This is possible because language is frequently parallel, and such elisions are common because they are economical and yet normally understood as intended.)   The two-pronged test as to whether it is merely a syntactic phenomenon or one with a significant semantic component as well is how obvious the meaning is given the elision and whether other readings are plausible, though not likely intended (part of the speaker meaning).
Key works Merchant 2010 is the key work of choice; it reflects, roughly, the views expressed in the synopsis.
Introductions Merchant ms seems to be an excellent introduction.
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  1. N. Asher (2001). Discourse Parallelism, Ellipsis, and Ambiguity. Journal of Semantics 18 (1):1-25.
    In this paper we combine a simple recovery mechanism for ellipsis with a general, discourse account of parallelism to account for a variety of phenomena concerning ellipsis, including Sag's wide scope puzzle and complex examples concerning sloppy identity. Our recovery mechanism requires an identity of logical structure between the recovered material and antecedent in the ellipsis. The recovered material and the antecedent are then interpreted independently in their respective contexts, subject only to the general discourse constraints on parallelism. These constraints (...)
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  2. K. Bach (2008). Review: Robert J. Stainton: Words and Thoughts: Subsentences, Ellipsis, and the Philosophy of Language. [REVIEW] Mind 117 (467):739-742.
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  3. Mark Baltin, Implications of Pseudo-Gapping for Binding and the Representation of Information Structure* Mark R. Baltin.
    In addition to the standard ellipsis process known as VP-ellipsis, another ellipsis process, known as pseudo-gapping, was first brought to the fore-front in the 1970’s by Sag (1976) and N. Levin (1986). This process elides subparts of a VP, as in (1): (1) Although I don’t like steak, I do___pizza. Developing ideas of K.S. Jayaseelan (Jayaseelan (1990)), Howard Lasnik has developed an analysis in which pseudo-gapping, which, in some instances, looks as though it is simply deleting a verb, is in (...)
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  4. Rod Bertolet (1984). On a Fictional Ellipsis. Erkenntnis 21 (2):189 - 194.
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  5. Anne Bezuidenhout, VP-Ellipsis and the Case for Representationalism in Semantics.
    The debate between representationalists and anti-representationalists as I construe it in this chapter is a debate about whether truth-conditions are or should be assigned directly to natural language sentences (NLSs) – the anti-representationalist view – or whether they are or should be assigned instead to mental representations (MRs) that are related in some appropriate way to these NLSs. On the representationalist view, these MRs are related to NLSs in virtue of the fact that the MRs are the output of an (...)
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  6. E. R. Brandon (1993). Is "A Needs X" Elliptical? Grazer Philosophische Studien 45:125-134.
    While "A needs X" often calls for supplementation by the Y X is needed for, Thomson, Wiggins and Braybrooke have argued that there is a sense of "need" for which this is unnecessary. But Gricean conventions for conversation allow us to use ellipsis in a unified account of "need" while explaining the data Thomson and Wiggins appeal to: nondetatchment of bare needs from more fully specified ones, avoidance of serious harm as a default filling of the Y-slot, and the apparent (...)
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  7. Rui P. Chaves (2008). Linearization-Based Word-Part Ellipsis. Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (3):261-307.
    This paper addresses a phenomenon in which certain word-parts can be omitted. The evidence shows that the full range of data cannot be captured by a sublexical analysis, since the phenomena can be observed both in phrasal and in lexical environments. It is argued that a form of deletion is involved, and that the phenomena—lexical or otherwise—are subject to the same phonological, semantic, and syntactic constraints. In the formalization that is proposed, all of the above constraints are cast in a (...)
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  8. Robin Cooper, Using Dependent Record Types in Clarification Ellipsis.
    We present a sketch of a formulation of an analysis of clarification ellipsis using dependent record types as they have been developed in Martin-Lof type theory. Record types provide a semantic formalism which at the same time..
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  9. Crit Cremers (1983). On the Form and Interpretation of Ellipsis. In Alice G. B. Ter Meulen (ed.), Studies in Model theoretic Semantics. Foris Publications.
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  10. Mary Dalrymple, Stuart M. Shieber & Fernando C. N. Pereira (1991). Ellipsis and Higher-Order Unification. Linguistics and Philosophy 14 (4):399 - 452.
    We present a new method for characterizing the interpretive possibilities generated by elliptical constructions in natural language. Unlike previous analyses, which postulate ambiguity of interpretation or derivation in the full clause source of the ellipsis, our analysis requires no such hidden ambiguity. Further, the analysis follows relatively directly from an abstract statement of the ellipsis interpretation problem. It predicts correctly a wide range of interactions between ellipsis and other semantic phenomena such as quantifier scope and bound anaphora. Finally, although the (...)
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  11. Reinaldo Elugardo & Robert J. Stainton, Ellipsis and Nonsentential Speech.
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  12. Reinaldo Elugardo & Robert J. Stainton (2004). Shorthand, Syntactic Ellipsis, and the Pragmatic Determinants of What is Said. Mind and Language 19 (4):442–471.
    Our first aim in this paper is to respond to four novel objections in Jason Stanley's 'Context and Logical Form'. Taken together, those objections attempt to debunk our prior claims that one can perform a genuine speech act by using a subsentential expression—where by 'subsentential expression' we mean an ordinary word or phrase, not embedded in any larger syntactic structure. Our second aim is to make it plausible that, pace Stanley, there really are pragmatic determinants of the literal truthconditional content (...)
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  13. Reinaldo Elugardo & Robert J. Stainton (2004). Shorthand, Syntactic Ellipsis, and the Pragmatic Determinants of What Is Said. Mind and Language 19 (4):442-471.
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  14. Chris Fox & Shalom Lappin, A Type-Theoretic Approach to Anaphora and Ellipsis Resolution.
    We present an approach to anaphora and ellipsis resolution in which pronouns and elided structures are interpreted by the dynamic identification in discourse of type constraints on their semantic representations. The content of these conditions is recovered in context from an antecedent expression. The constraints define separation types (sub-types) in Property Theory with <span class='Hi'>Curry</span> Typing (PTCT), an expressive first-order logic with <span class='Hi'>Curry</span> typing that we have proposed as a formal framework for natural language semantics.
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  15. Danny Fox, Focus, Parallelism and Accommodation.
    It is well-known that constructions involving ellipsis (i.e. construction in which semantically interpreted material is not realized phonologically, henceforth ECs) share many properties with constructions that involve phonological reduction (in which semantically interpreted material is realized phonologically but in a reduced form, henceforth PRCs). (See, among others, Lasnik 1972, Chomsky and Lasnik 1993, Rooth 1992 and Tancredi 1992.) The similarity between ECs and PRCs is semantic: the interpretation of both is constrained by the interpretation of an antecedent (Parallelism). (...)
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  16. Lyn Frazier & Charles Clifton (2006). Ellipsis and Discourse Coherence. Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (3):315 - 346.
    VP ellipsis generally requires a syntactically matching antecedent. However, many documented examples exist where the antecedent is not appropriate. Kehler (2000, Linguistics and philosophy 23(6), 533–575. 2002, Coherence, Reference and the Theory of Grammer, CSLI Publications. Stanford.) proposed an elegant theory which predicts a syntactic antecedent for an elided VP is required only for a certain discourse coherence relation (resemblance), not for cause-effect relations. Most of the data Kehler used to motivate his theory come from corpus studies and thus (...)
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  17. Joseph S. Fulda (2012). Austinian Ifs Revisited – And Squared Away with the Equivalence Thesis and the Theory of Conditional Elements. RASK 36:51-71.
    This paper deals with Austinian ifs of every stripe within classical logic. It is argued that they are truth-functional and the theory of conditional elements is used. Ellipsis is key. Corrects an error in Fulda (2010) in translation and therefore scope. -/- The PDF is made available gratis by the Publisher.
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  18. Joseph S. Fulda (1995). Reasoning with Imperatives Using Classical Logic. Sorites 3:7-11.
    As the journal is effectively defunct, I am uploading a full-text copy, but only of my abstract and article, and some journal front matter. -/- Note that the pagination in the PDF version differs from the official pagination because A4 and 8.5" x 11" differ. -/- Traditionally, imperatives have been handled with deontic logics, not the logic of propositions which bear truth values. Yet, an imperative is issued by the speaker to cause (stay) actions which change the state of affairs, (...)
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  19. Jonathan Ginzburg & Robin Cooper, Resolving Ellipsis in Clarification.
    We offer a computational analysis of the resolution of ellipsis in certain cases of dialogue clarification. We show that this goes beyond standard techniques used in anaphora and ellipsis resolution and requires operations on highly structured, linguistically heterogeneous representations. We characterize these operations and the representations on which they operate. We offer an analysis couched in a version of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar combined with a theory of information states (IS).
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  20. Jonathan Ginzburg & Robin Cooper (2004). Clarification, Ellipsis, and the Nature of Contextual Updates in Dialogue. Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (3):297-365.
    The paper investigates an elliptical construction, Clarification Ellipsis, that occurs in dialogue. We suggest that this provides data that demonstrates that updates resulting from utterances cannot be defined in purely semantic terms, contrary to the prevailing assumptions of existing approaches to dynamic semantics. We offer a computationally oriented analysis of the resolution of ellipsis in certain cases of dialogue clarification. We show that this goes beyond standard techniques used in anaphora and ellipsis resolution and requires operations on highly structured, linguistically (...)
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  21. James Griffith (2007). Ellipsis: Of Poetry and the Experience of Language After Heidegger, Hölderlin, and Blanchot. Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 28 (2):194-200.
    This is a review of a book by William S. Allen.
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  22. Chung-Hye Han & Maribel Romero, Ellipsis and Movement in the Syntax of Whether/Q...Or Questions.
    In English, a non-wh-question may have a disjunctive phrase explicitly providing the choices that the question ranges over. For example, in (1), the disjunction or not indicates that the the choice is between the positive and the negative polarity for the relevant proposition, as spelled out in the yes/no (yn)-question reading (2) and in the answers (2a,b). Another example is (3). The disjunction in (3) can be understood as providing the choices that the question ranges over, hence giving rise to (...)
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  23. D. Hardt (2004). Ellipsis and the Structure of Discourse. Journal of Semantics 21 (4):375-414.
    It is generally assumed that ellipsis requires parallelism between the clause containing the ellipsis and some antecedent clause. We argue that the parallelism requirement generated by ellipsis must be applied in accordance with discourse structure: a matching antecedent clause must be found that locally c‐commands the clause containing the ellipsis in the discourse tree. We show that this claim makes several correct predictions concerning the interpretation of ellipsis, both in terms of the selection of the antecedent (in sluicing and verb (...)
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  24. Daniel Hardt (1999). Dynamic Interpretation of Verb Phrase Ellipsis. Linguistics and Philosophy 22 (2):187-221.
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  25. P. Hendriks (2004). Coherence Relations, Ellipsis and Contrastive Topics. Journal of Semantics 21 (2):133-153.
    It has been observed (Kehler, 1996, Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society; Kehler, 2000 Linguistics and Philosophy, 23, 533–575; Kehler, 2002 Coherence, Reference, and the Theory of Grammar) that ellipsis resolution processes interact with the inference processes underlying the establishment of coherence relations in discourse. For example, gapping only co‐occurs with the coherence relation of Resemblance. In this paper I show that the reason why certain ellipsis processes only co‐occur with certain types of coherence relations (...)
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  26. Jason Merchant http://homeuchicagoedu/~merchant/publicationshtml, An Asymmetry in Voice Mismatches in VP-Ellipsis and Pseudogapping.
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  27. Jason Merchant http://homeuchicagoedu/~merchant/publicationshtml, 3.4 Extensions.
    Given the above analysis for answer fragments, there is an obvious extension to other kinds of fragments which have often been analyzed as involving a kind of clausal ellipsis, such as stripping in its various manifestations and other related ‘elliptic conjunctions’, as well as perhaps gapping. The analysis of fragment answers proposed here is particularly reminiscent of movement approaches to stripping and gapping, as proposed in Sag 1976 and Pesetsky 1981, and articulared more recently in Johnson 1996, 2001, Kim (...)
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  28. Kyle Johnson, Few Dogs Eat Whiskas or Cats Alpo.
    One of the interests in the Gapping construction is the headache it causes for those trying to get constituency structure right. On the assumption that Gapping, like other processes of sentence grammar, respects constituency, it is very hard to deliver the right constituents in cases such as (1). (1) a. Some consider him honest and others consider him pleasant. b. The faculty brought scotch to the party and the students brought beer to the party. c. The girls occasionally ate peanuts (...)
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  29. Kyle Johnson, Gapping Isn't (VP) Ellipsis.
    Pseudogapping is no misnomer. Despite the many tempting similarities, Gapping and Pseudogapping are distinct constructions. Pseudogapping is a special instance of VP Ellipsis, while Gapping, I will argue, is a special instance of across-the-board movement. Squeezing Gapping into across-the-board movement has its own discomforts, however, which I will suggest can be remedied by re-tailoring our syntax to include string-based output constraints. I give a sketch of one such alteration that involves apparent Left Branch Condition violations.
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  30. Kyle Johnson (2001). What VP Ellipsis Can Do, and What It Can't, but Not Why. In Mark Baltin & Chris Collins (eds.), The Handbook of Contemporary Syntactic Theory. Blackwell. 439--479.
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  31. Andrew Kehler (2000). Coherence and the Resolution of Ellipsis. Linguistics and Philosophy 23 (6):533-575.
    Despite the attention that various forms of ellipsis have received inthe literature, the conditions under which a representation of anutterance may serve as a suitable referent for interpreting subsequentelliptical forms remain poorly understood. This fundamental questionremains as a point of contention, particularly because there are datato support various conflicting approaches that attempt to characterizethese conditions within a single module of language processing. Weshow a previously unnoticed pattern in VP-ellipsis data with respectto the type of coherence relation extant between the antecedentand (...)
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  32. Gregory M. Kobele (2009). Part III. Convert and Non-Movement Operations in Survive-Minimalism: Syntactic Identity in Survive-Minimalism: Ellipsis and the Derivational Identity Hypothesis. In Michael T. Putnam (ed.), Towards a Derivational Syntax: Survive-Minimalism. John Benjamins Pub. Company.
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  33. Shalom Lappin, Classifying Ellipsis in Dialogue: A Machine Learning Approach.
    Raquel FERN ´ ANDEZ, Jonathan GINZBURG and Shalom LAPPIN Department of Computer Science King’s College London Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK {raquel,ginzburg,lappin}@dcs.kcl.ac.uk..
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  34. Shalom Lappin (1996). The Interpretatin of Ellipsis. In , The Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory. Blackwell. 145--176.
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  35. Shalom Lappin, A Sequenced Model of Anaphora and Ellipsis Resolution.
    I compare several types of knowledge-based and knowledge-poor approaches to anaphora and ellipsis resolution. The former are able to capture fine-grained distinctions that depend on lexical meaning and real world knowledge, but they are generally not robust. The latter show considerable promise for yielding wide coverage systems. However, they consistently miss a small but significant subset of cases that are not accessible to rough-grained techniques of intepretation. I propose a sequenced model which first applies the most computationally efficient and inexpensive (...)
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  36. Shalom Lappin & C. Fox, A Type-Theoretic Approach to Anaphora and Ellipsis Resolution.
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  37. Edouard Machery (2007). Review of Robert J. Stainton, Words and Thoughts: Subsentences, Ellipsis, and the Philosophy of Language. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (6).
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  38. Jason Merchant, An Asymmetry in Voice Mismatches in VP-Ellipsis and Pseudogapping.
    VP-ellipsis and pseudogapping in English show a previously unnoticed asymmetry in their tolerance for voice mismatch: while VP-ellipsis allows mismatches in voice between the elided VP and its antecedent, pseudogapping does not. This difference is unexpected under current analyses of pseudogapping, which posit that pseudogapping is a kind of VP-ellipsis. I show that this difference falls out naturally if the target of deletion in the two cases differs slightly: in VP-ellipsis, a node lower than [voi(ce)] is deleted, while in pseudogapping (...)
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  39. Jason Merchant, Voice and Ellipsis.
    Elided VPs and their antecedent VPs can mismatch in voice, with passive VPs being elided under apparent identity with active antecedent VPs, and vice versa. Such voice mismatches are not allowed in any other kind of ellipsis, such as sluicing and other clausal ellipses. These latter facts indicate that the identity relation in ellipsis is sensitive to syntactic form, not merely to semantic form. The VP-ellipsis facts fall into place if the head that determines voice is external to the phrase (...)
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  40. Jason Merchant, Not All Genders Are Created Equal: Evidence From Nominal Ellipsis in Greek.
    It is well understood that the analysis of elliptical phenomena has the potential to inform our understanding of the syntax-semantics interface, as it forces the analyst to confront directly the mechanisms for generating meanings without the usual forms that give rise to them. But facts from ellipsis have an equal potential to illuminate our understanding of the structure of the lexicon. A close investigation of nominal ellipses in Greek shows that gender features are not all created equal: the values of (...)
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  41. Jason Merchant, Variable Island Repair Under Ellipsis.
    One of the most startling, and hence theoretically challenging, properties of wh-movement in Sluicing is that it can move wh-phrases out of islands, an important observation which goes back to Ross (1969). Equally challenging is the fact that similar wh-movement out of VP Ellipsis sites remains for the most part illicit. Briefly put, it seems that for a wide range of cases, deletion of an IP containing an island voids the effect of that island for wh-movement, while deletion of a (...)
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  42. Jason Merchant (2010). Three Kinds of Ellipsis: Syntactic, Semantic, Pragmatic? In Francois Recanati, IIsidora Stojanovic & Neftali Villanueva (eds.), Context-Dependence, Perspective, and Relativity (pp. 141-192).
    The term ‘ellipsis’ can be used to refer to a variety of phenomena: syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic. In this article, I discuss the recent comprehensive survey by Stainton 2006 of these kinds of ellipsis with respect to the analysis of nonsententials and try to show that despite his trenchant criticisms and insightful proposal, some of the criticisms can be evaded and the insights incorporated into a semantic ellipsis analysis, making a ‘divide-and-conquer’ strategy to the properties of nonsententials feasible after all. (...)
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  43. Jason Merchant (2005). Fragments and Ellipsis. Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (6):661 - 738.
    Fragmentary utterances such as short answers and subsentential XPs without linguistic antecedents are proposed to have fully sentential syntactic structures, subject to ellipsis. Ellipsis in these cases is preceded by A-movement of the fragment to a clause-peripheral position; the combination of movement and ellipsis accounts for a wide range of connectivity and anti-connectivity effects in these structures. Fragment answers furthermore shed light on the nature of islands, and contrast with sluicing in triggering island effects; this is shown to follow from (...)
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  44. Jason Merchant, Ellipsis.
    The term ellipsis has been applied to a wide range of phenomena across the centuries, from any situation in which words appear to be missing (in St. Isidore’s definition), to a much narrower range of particular constructions. Ellipsis continues to be of central interest to theorists of language exactly because it represents a situation where the usual form/meaning mappings, the algorithms, structures, rules, and constraints that in nonelliptical sentences allow us to map sounds and gestures onto their corresponding meanings, break (...)
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  45. Stefano Predelli (2006). Hybrid Indexicals and Ellipsis. Erkenntnis 65 (3):385-403.
    In this essay, I explain how certain suggestions put forth by Frege, Wittgenstein, and Schlick regarding the interpretation of indexical expressions may be incorporated within a systematic semantic account. I argue that the ‘hybrid’ approach they propose is preferable to more conventional systems, in particular when it comes to the interpretation of cases of cross-contextual ellipsis. I also explain how the hybrid view entails certain important and independently motivated distinctions among contextually dependent expressions, for instance between ‘here’ and ‘local’.
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  46. Francesco Pupa & Erika Troseth (2011). Syntax and Interpretation. Mind and Language 26 (2):185-209.
    In his book Language in Context, Jason Stanley provides a novel solution to certain interpretational puzzles (Stanley, 2007). The aphonic approach, as we call it, hangs upon a substantial syntactic thesis. Here, we provide theoretical and empirical arguments against this particular syntactic thesis. Moreover, we demonstrate that the interpretational puzzles under question admit of a better solution under the explicit approach.
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  47. Maribel Romero, Reduced Conditionals and Focus.
    The term “Reduced Conditional” is coined by Schwarz (1996, 1998, 2000) to designate a certain kind of ellipsis that may occur in the consequent of a Conditional in German, as illustrated in (1): (1a) is a Full Conditional (FC, henceforth) and (1b) is its Reduced Conditional (RC) counterpart.
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  48. Stuart M. Shieber, Fernando C. N. Pereira & Mary Dalrymple (1996). Interactions of Scope and Ellipsis. Linguistics and Philosophy 19 (5):527 - 552.
    Systematic semantic ambiguities result from the interaction of the two operations that are involved in resolving ellipsis in the presence of scoping elements such as quantifiers and intensional operators: scope determination for the scoping elements and resolution of the elided relation. A variety of problematic examples previously noted - by Sag, Hirschbüihler, Gawron and Peters, Harper, and others - all have to do with such interactions. In previous work, we showed how ellipsis resolution can be stated and solved in equational (...)
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  49. Robert Stainton, Neither Fragments nor Ellipsis.
    Jason Merchant (2004, and Chap. 3, this volume) proposes to account for all speech acts performed with “fragments,” whether in discourse-initial position or otherwise, by appealing to syntactic ellipsis. Though his proposal is insightful, I offer empirical and methodological considerations against it. Empirical problems include: (a) His alleged “elliptical sentences” do not embed the way they should; (b) in some cases where Merchant requires fronting to take place, it is blocked – either by an island (e.g., in English) or because (...)
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  50. Robert Stainton (2006). Words and Thoughts: Subsentences, Ellipsis, and the Philosophy of Language. Published in the United States by Oxford University Press.
    It is a near truism of philosophy of language that sentences are prior to words--that they are the only things that fundamentally have meaning. Robert's Stainton's study interrogates this idea, drawing on a wide body of evidence to argue that speakers can and do use mere words, not sentences, to communicate complex thoughts.
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