Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 357–388 | Cite as

Particle stranding ellipsis involves PF-deletion

  • Yosuke SatoEmail author
  • Masako Maeda


This paper develops a new phonological analysis of Particle Stranding Ellipsis (PSE) in Japanese as an alternative to the recent, purely structural analysis of the phenomenon (Sato 2012; Goto 2014). Drawing on Shibata’s (2014) observations, we propose that PSE results from a string-based deletion in the phonological component (see Mukai 2003 and An 2016), which has the function of aligning the left edge of the first Intermediate Phrase to that of the Utterance Phrase. We then turn to investigate the relationship between PSE and other better-studied cases of ellipsis in Japanese. We present various arguments, based on sloppy identity readings, wide scope negation, disjunction, and parallelism, to show that certain cases of PSE may well involve so-called argument ellipsis, one of the most intensively investigated phenomena in the latest generative literature on Japanese syntax (Oku 1998; Saito 2007; Takahashi 2008), arguing against the conceivable pro-drop alternative. The two results derived here strongly suggest that the derivation of PSE involves PF-deletion.


Particle stranding ellipsis Phase theory Strict linear sensitivity String deletion Non-constituent deletion Argument ellipsis Japanese 



We are most grateful to the NLLT associate editor Jason Merchant and a reviewer for invaluable feedback on an earlier version of this paper. We also thank Jun Abe, Duk-Ho An, Kamil Deen, Yoshi Dobashi, Mitcho Yoshitaka Erlewine, Yoshiki Fujiwara, Nobu Goto, Heidi Harley, Shin-Ichi Kitada, Si Kai Lee, Ted Levin, Hiroki Nomoto, Myung-Kwan Park, Keely New Zuo Qi, Naga Selvanathan, Daiko Takahashi, Kensuke Takita, Hideaki Yamashita and Masataka Yano as well as the audience members at the 19th Seoul International Conference on Generative Grammar (Seoul National University), at the 25th Japanese/Korean Linguistics Conference (University of Hawaii, Manoa), and at the Syntax/Semantics Reading Group at the Department of English Language and Literature of the National University of Singapore for helpful comments on the ideas presented here and discussions. We also thank Keely (again) for proofreading this paper. This research has been supported by the Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (grant #: R-103-000-124-112) awarded to Yosuke Sato as well as by the Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (grant #: 26770170) awarded to Masako Maeda. We blame all errors on the brutal humidity in Singapore. The first author thanks the second author for emailing him intriguing questions regarding PSE on March 11, 2017, which has led to this joint work reported here.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Kyushu Institute of TechnologyFukuokaJapan

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