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Title: The syntax of ellipsis in Libyan Arabic : a generative analysis of sluicing, VP ellipsis, stripping and negative contrast
Author: Algryani, Ali Mohamed Khalifa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 0926
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2012
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This dissertation explores the syntax of ellipsis in Libyan Arabic (LA henceforth) focusing on sluicing, verb phrase ellipsis, stripping and negative contrast. These elliptical structures have not been studied in the language before; therefore, this study provides the first description of these phenomena from a generative perspective. Chapter three provides an overview of the status of ellipsis in syntactic theory and shows that there is compelling evidence that several ellipsis sites contain syntactic structure, which consequently can be treated as PF deletion phenomena. Chapter four investigates sluicing and attempts to determine whether what appears as sluicing is sluicing or pseudosluicing. It is revealed that some apparent cases of sluicing are instances of pseudosluicing despite their superficial appearance as sluicing. This follows from the fact that in this null subject language with covert copulas and noncase- marked wh-expressions, sluicing and pseudosluicing can be indistinguishable in some contexts. Chapter five discusses the interaction between preposition stranding (p-stranding) and sluicing. It concludes that the apparent cases of p-stranded sluices are instances of pseudosluicing. Therefore, two sources of IP ellipsis are proposed: sluicing and pseudosluicing. The former derives from regular wh-questions and conforms to the p-stranding generalisation; while the latter results from the deletion of a clefted clause whose pivot is an extracted wh-phrase. The fact that the preposition in cleft wh-questions resides in the relative clause, which is eventually deleted in pseudosluicing, yields the illusion that such constructions involve p-stranding. Finally, the proposed analysis provides novel evidence for Shlonsky’s (2002) analysis of Arabic Class II wh-questions as copular clauses. Chapter six discusses two cases of verb phrase related ellipsis, referred to as modal ellipsis and verb-stranding VP ellipsis. In the former, the complement of the modal verb is deleted, while in the latter, where the lexical verb is assumed to have raised to T, the complement of the main verb plus all vP-related material are elided. Given that modal ellipsis exhibits missing antecedents and binding effects and allows for extraction in some contexts, it is proposed that such an ellipsis is a gap with internal syntactic structure, which thus can be analysed as VP deletion at PF. As for the putative verb-stranding VP ellipsis, I will propose that this should not be analysed as VP ellipsis as in Farsi, Hebrew and Finnish. Rather, it should be reducible to null objects and/or individual constituent drop. This claim rests on two arguments. First, unlike VP ellipsis, the putative verb-stranding VP ellipsis is subject to definiteness restrictions; second, it differs from VP ellipsis with respect to the deletion of vPrelated material. Finally, chapter seven is concerned with stripping and negative contrast. It is proposed that both constructions involve TP ellipsis. The remnant in such constructions undergoes movement to the left periphery followed by TP deletion. However, stripping and negative contrast are distinct in terms of their interaction with information structure, that is, while the remnant in stripping is perceived as new information focus, in negative contrast it is interpreted contrastively.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: the Academy of Graduate Studies in Tripoli, Libya.
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available