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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2018, Vol. 49, No. 4, Pages 781-812
(doi: 10.1162/ling_a_00289)
© 2018 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Multiple Sluicing, Scope, and Superiority: Consequences for Ellipsis Identity
Article PDF (555.14 KB)
This article defends a semantic identity account of ellipsis licensing. The argument comes from examples of multiple sluicing, especially from Russian. Concentrating on antecedents that contain two quantified statements, we uncover a surprising asymmetry: surface scope antecedents can license a multiple sluice, but inverse scope antecedents cannot. We explain this finding in terms of semantic accounts of ellipsis licensing, where ellipsis is licensed when the sluice corresponds to an (implicit) question under discussion. We show that QUDs cannot be computed from the truth-conditional content of the antecedents alone; instead, they must be computed only after (scalar) implicatures have been calculated and added to the common ground, along with the context of utterance. We further discuss the commitments required of syntactic/LF identity accounts of ellipsis licensing in order to accommodate multiple sluicing with quantified antecedents, and argue that such accounts are practically untenable.