Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 351–391 | Cite as

Short answers in Scottish Gaelic and their theoretical implications

  • Gary ThomsEmail author


This article presents an analysis of a novel short answer strategy in Scottish Gaelic, called the Verb-Answer, which differs from standard fragment answers in allowing us to directly observe some of the clausal structure in which it is embedded. It is shown that the Verb-Answer is identical to the fragment answer in virtually all other respects, demanding a unified analysis, and it is demonstrated that pursuing a unified analysis is problematic for Direct Interpretation approaches to short answers, but straightforward for the Silent Structure approach of Morgan (1973) and Merchant (2004). The extended typology of short answer strategies therefore provides an argument in favour of the latter approach to elliptical phenomena.


Ellipsis Fragment answers Scottish Gaelic Silent structure 



Parts of this work were presented at CLC7 (Rennes), UCL and the University of Edinburgh, so thanks to those audiences as well as David Adger, Matt Barros, Christopher Lewin, Jim McCloskey and Sean Roberts for discussion, and three anonymous reviewers for insightful and helpful feedback. Mòran taing to all my native language consultants, especially Lucy Gilfedder and Gillebrìde MacMillan, and all the staff at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Any remaining errors are mine.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Critical StudiesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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