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Against ellipsis: arguments for the direct licensing of ‘noncanonical’ coordinations


Categorial grammar is well-known for its elegant analysis of coordination enabled by the flexible notion of constituency it entertains. However, to date, no systematic study exists that examines whether this analysis has any obvious empirical advantage over alternative analyses of nonconstituent coordination available in phrase structure-based theories of syntax. This paper attempts precisely such a comparison. We compare the direct constituent coordination analysis of non-canonical coordinations (right-node raising, dependent cluster coordination and Gapping) in categorial grammar with an ellipsis-based analysis of the same phenomena in the recent HPSG literature. We provide a set of empirical evidence, consisting of cases in which non-canonical coordinations interact with scopal operators of various sorts, which systematically falsifies the predictions of the latter, ‘linearization-based’ ellipsis approach to coordination. We propose an alternative analysis in a variant of categorial grammar called Hybrid Type-Logical Categorial Grammar. The proposed framework builds on both the Lambek-inspired variants of categorial grammar and a more recent line of work modelling word order via a lambda calculus for the prosodic component. The flexible syntax–semantics interface of this framework straightforwardly captures the interactions between non-canonical coordinations and scopal expressions, demonstrating the broader empirical payoff of the direct constituent coordination analysis of non-canonical coordinations pioneered by Steedman (Language 61(3):523–568, 1985; Linguist Philos 13(2):207–263, 1990) and Dowty (Categorial grammars and natural language structures, 1988) hitherto not explicitly recognized in the literature.

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Kubota, Y., Levine, R. Against ellipsis: arguments for the direct licensing of ‘noncanonical’ coordinations. Linguist and Philos 38, 521–576 (2015).

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  • Coordination
  • Nonconstituent coordination
  • Scope
  • Categorial grammar
  • Hybrid Type-Logical Categorial Grammar