A Discourse Analysis Approach to the Sluicing Conundrum

Soo-Yeon Kim 1
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1Sejong University

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


With a critical review of previous analyses on sluicing construction, this study points out problems with structural analyses on sluicing and demonstrates a way to retrieve putative sources for the elided portion in sluicing, minimizing the complexity of deriving sluicing constructions. This paper focuses on so called connectivity effects that constitute a prima facie piece of evidence of movement of the sluice out of a sentential constituent. Much work has been done to resolve the sluicing conundrum between the connectivity effect and absence of syntactic island violation. This paper argues that employing the Cooper style E-type pronoun in the derivation of the second conjunct of sluicing constructions can account for the conundrum without unnecessary complication of grammar. This paper also shows the necessity of considering relevant discourse that affects the acceptability of sluicing which can be represented as a continuum depending on the prominency of the correlate. Degraded acceptability of sluicing with implicit antecedents is from difficulties in parsing the sluice with non-prominent antecendent.

Keywords: ellipsis; sluicing; E-type anaphora; discourse activation; implicit antecedent; prominency; processing



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