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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2013, Vol. 44, No. 2, Pages 285-298
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00128)
© 2013 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Does Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Have VP-Ellipsis?
Article PDF (95.13 KB)
Abstract

Richards (2009) proposes that VP-Ellipsis relates pairs of sentences in the Eastern Algonquian language Maliseet-Passamaquoddy that contain morphologically related verbs, one of which lacks a stem component that appears in the other. Under his proposal, the polysynthetic verbs of the language are decomposed into abstract syntactic structures, and VP-Ellipsis is applicable within the word. I argue that his data are better explained without postulating VP-Ellipsis for Maliseet-Passamaquoddy. The verbs that he sees as derived via ellipsis are independently occurring lexical items. There are in fact no ellipsis gaps in the structures he considers, only null pronouns, and overt pronouns may always occur in the relevant positions. My conclusions are fully consistent with the Lexical Integrity Hypothesis of Bresnan and Mchombo (1995).