|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.|
Using PhilPapers from home?
Create an account to enable off-campus access through your institution's proxy server.
Monitor this page
Be alerted of all new items appearing on this page. Choose how you want to monitor it:
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers