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Howard Lasnik

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Distinguished University Professor, Linguistics

(301) 405-4929

1106 Marie Mount Hall
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Research Expertise

Syntax

Publications

Ellipsis in Transformational Grammar

Ellipsis is deletion.

Linguistics

Contributor(s): Howard Lasnik
Non-ARHU Contributor(s): Kenshi Funakoshi
Dates:
This chapter examines three themes concerning ellipsis that have been extensively discussed in transformational generative grammar: structure, recoverability, and licensing. It reviews arguments in favor of the analysis according to which the ellipsis site is syntactically fully represented, and compares the two variants of this analysis (the deletion analysis and the LF-copying analysis). It is concluded that the deletion analysis is superior to the LF-copying analysis. A discussion of recoverability follows, which concludes that in order for elided material to be recoverable, a semantic identity condition must be satisfied, but that is not a sufficient condition: syntactic or formal identity must be taken into account. The chapter finally considers licensing. It reviews some proposals in the literature about what properties of licensing heads and what local relation between the ellipsis site and the licensing head are relevant to ellipsis licensing.

How to neutralize a finite clause boundary: Phase theory and the grammar of bound pronouns

Postdoctoral alum Tom Grano joins Howard Lasnik to explain why bound pronouns are only weak interveners for a variety of long-distance dependencies

Linguistics

Contributor(s): Howard Lasnik
Non-ARHU Contributor(s): Thomas Grano
Dates:
A bound pronoun in the subject position of a finite embedded clause renders the clause boundary relatively transparent to relations ordinarily confined to monoclausal, control, and raising configurations. For example, too/enough-movement structures involving a finite clause boundary are degraded in sentences like *This book is too long [for John to claim [ that Bill read _ in a day ]] but improved when the finite clause has a bound pronominal subject as in ?This book is too long [ for John1 to claim [that he1 read _ in a day ]]. This bound pronoun effect holds across a wide range of phenomena including too/enough-movement, tough-movement, gapping, comparative deletion, antecedent-contained deletion, quantifier scope interaction, multiple questions, pseudogapping, reciprocal binding, and multiple sluicing; we confirm the effect via a sentence acceptability experiment targeting some of these phenomena. Our account has two crucial ingredients: (a) bound pronouns optionally enter the derivation with unvalued ϕ-features and (b) phases are defined in part by convergence, so that under certain conditions, unvalued features void the phasal status of CP and extend the locality domain for syntactic operations.

A (surprising?) consequence of single-cycle syntax

When and why are noun phrases understood as scoping below their surface position?

Linguistics

Contributor(s): Howard Lasnik
Dates:
When and why are noun phrases understood as scoping below their surface position?

On the development of Case theory: Triumphs and challenges

Howard Lasnik reviews developments in the history of Case Theory.

Linguistics

Contributor(s): Howard Lasnik
Dates:
Howard Lasnik reviews developments in the history of Case Theory.