Ellipsis in Dynamic Syntax

Ruth Kempson, Eleni Gregoromichelaki, Arash Eshghi, Julian Hough

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In this chapter, we argue that ellipsis is a phenomenon that directly parallels anaphora, hence providing direct evidence of the concept of context on which natural-language (NL) processing depends. From this perspective, we argue first that, in failing to give due recognition to the interactive and multimodal nature of NL processing, theoretical linguistics has entered a stalemate situation in which no unitary account of ellipsis is possible. The alternative Dynamic Syntax account we provide next, to the contrary, presents ellipsis as a test case for the view that each NL constitutes a set of mechanisms for situated human interaction, with syntax, not a level of representation, but, instead, comprising a set of procedures for incrementally and predictively effecting conceptual structure - NL-strings mappings. The significance of the extended set of so-called “elliptical" phenomena that are examined from this perspective is that they all provide evidence for the seamless integration of NL structures and processing under domain-general action and perception processes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Ellipsis
EditorsJeroen van Craenenbroeck, Tanja Temmerman
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198712398
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Dec 2018


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