Robert Stainton
Western University
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 nonsubject fronting is not allowed in the language in question (e.g., in Malagasy); and (c) his “limited ellipsis” strategy, allowing do it and this is __ to be licensed in discourse-initial position, is not general enough. The methodological problem is that, his protests to the contrary, Merchant’s view multiplies hidden structure without necessity.
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References found in this work BETA

Context and Logical Form.Jason Stanley - 2000 - Linguistics and Philosophy 23 (4):391--434.
Words and Thoughts: Subsentences, Ellipsis, and the Philosophy of Language.Robert Stainton - 2006 - Published in the United States by Oxford University Press.
Semantics, Pragmatics, and the Role of Semantic Content.Jeffrey C. King & Jason Stanley - 2005 - In Zoltan Gendler Szabo (ed.), Semantics Versus Pragmatics. Oxford University Press. pp. 111--164.
Fragments and Ellipsis.Jason Merchant - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (6):661 - 738.

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Citations of this work BETA

A hybrid categorial approach to question composition.Yimei Xiang - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (3):587-647.
Perspectival Plurality, Relativism, and Multiple Indexing.Dan Zeman - 2018 - In Rob Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern & Hannah Rohde (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21, Vol. 2. Semantics Archives. pp. 1353-1370.
Explicatures Are NOT Cancellable.Alessandro Capone - 2013 - In Alessandro Capone, Franco Lo Piparo & Marco Carapezza (eds.), Perspectives on linguistic pragmatics. Springer. pp. 131-151.

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