Morphology and Syntax Workshop

WhenOctober 13, 2017 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
WhereRosenwald Hall, Room 208
Contact InformationLinguistics Department
DescriptionJackie Lai (University of Chicago), When verbs are shared: On the derivation of gapping in Mandarin Chinese

The right analysis of verbal gapping in (Mandarin) Chinese is a far-from-settled question, with even some writers claiming that Chinese lacks canonical gapping at all (Sanders and Tai 1972; Tang 2001; Huang 2015). While Chinese verbs do not move overtly out of vP, and the so-called ‘V-drop’ is independently possible due to the existence of empty verbs, this presentation reaffirms the existence of gapping in the language. Two novel types of interpretative fact are presented, which pose problems to existing representative theories of Chinese gapping (Paul 1999; Tang 2001; Ai 2014), and importantly indicate that not every instance of Chinese gapping is amenable to an empty verb analysis (contra Tang 2001). In particular, it is argued that canonical gapping in Mandarin involves high CP-coordination wherein V is shared across both coordinates via Parallel Merge (Citko 2005 and many others), and empty verbs set in only precisely when V-sharing fails. The proposed account extends to other facts on multiple-gap sentences, some more general cases of ellipsis, and gapping in control structures. If more or less correct, the current analysis also constitutes support for not defining ‘reference set’ on identical numerations (a conclusion reached also in e.g. Salzmann 2009 and van Craenenbroeck 2010); that is, derivations built from different numerations may still compete, under certain conditions, an implication which refines our understanding of how economy (in grammar) should be understood.
CategoriesConferences/Lectures, Lectures, Workshops
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