Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 399–452 | Cite as

Ellipsis and higher-order unification

  • Mary Dalrymple
  • Stuart M. Shieber
  • Fernando C. N. Pereira


We present a new method for characterizing the interpretive possibilities generated by elliptical constructions in natural language. Unlike previous analyses, which postulate ambiguity of interpretation or derivation in the full clause source of the ellipsis, our analysis requires no such hidden ambiguity. Further, the analysis follows relatively directly from an abstract statement of the ellipsis interpretation problem. It predicts correctly a wide range of interactions between ellipsis and other semantic phenomena such as quantifier scope and bound anaphora. Finally, although the analysis itself is stated nonprocedurally, it admits of a direct computational method for generating interpretations.


Artificial Intelligence Natural Language Previous Analysis Abstract Statement Computational Linguistic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Dalrymple
    • 1
  • Stuart M. Shieber
    • 2
  • Fernando C. N. Pereira
    • 3
  1. 1.Xerox-PARCPalo AltoUSA
  2. 2.Division of Applied SciencesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.AT&T Bell LaboratoriesMurray HillUSA

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