A Movement and Resumption Approach to VP-Ellipsis in Mandarin Chinese

Vol. 40 No. 1   06/2010   


A Movement and Resumption Approach to VP-Ellipsis in Mandarin Chinese  











Key words

VP-ellipsis, operator movement, variable, resumptive pronoun, E-type pro, island repair effect  


    This study investigates the identity of the missing elements following the three variants of Mandarin VP-ellipsis, ye-shi, ye/(que)-Aux, and ye/(que)-V. Each of these is surveyed from the points of view of adverbial deletion, backwards anaphora, island effects, pragmatic antecedents, the third reading, and indefinite correlates. In line with Shlonsky (1992) and Aoun, Choueiri, and Hornstein (2001), we propose a movement and resumption analysis, assuming that the base-generated empty category after each variant is motivated to be raised to the initial position of the second conjunct for further construal with its correlative antecedent, in order to fulfill the topic-comment predication between conjuncts. Each empty category is licensed by a head remnant, shi, Aux, or V. We find that the semantically-rich licensing heads, Aux and V, differ from the semantically-bleached focus marker shi, in that they provide the following empty categories with definite clues to their referents. This further leads to legitimacy regarding backwards anaphora, pragmatic antecedent, the third reading, and even the use of a resumptive device for island amelioration. That is why resumption, as a last resort in syntax, can interpret the island repair effect in the cases of ye/(que)-Aux/V, especially when the movement of the nominal or predicate operator is blocked by islands. In contrast, a ban on resumption causes ye-shi to strictly respect island effects. Finally, we conclude that the empty categories can be a variable, resumptive element, and even E-type pro, which refers to an indefinite NP correlate.



Author: Wei,Ting-chi
Genre: Article