Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 107–156 | Cite as

Gapping as hypothetical reasoning

  • Yusuke KubotaEmail author
  • Robert Levine


The scope anomaly observed in sentences like Mrs. J can’t live in Boston and Mr. J in LA (¬◊>∧) and No dog eats Whiskas or cat Alpo (¬∃>∨) is known to pose difficult challenges to many analyses of Gapping. We provide new arguments, based on both the basic syntactic patterns of Gapping and standard constituency tests, that the so-called ‘low VP coordination analysis’—the only extant analysis of Gapping in contemporary syntactic theories which accounts for this scope anomaly—is empirically untenable. We propose an explicit alternative analysis of Gapping in Hybrid Type-Logical Categorial Grammar, a variant of categorial grammar which builds on both the Lambek-inspired tradition 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 enables us to characterize Gapping as an instance of like-category coordination, via a crucial use of the notion of hypothetical reasoning. This analysis of the basic syntax of Gapping is shown to interact with independently motivated analyses of scopal operators to immediately yield their apparently anomalous scopal properties in Gapping, offering, for the first time in the literature, a conceptually simple and empirically adequate solution for the notorious scope anomaly in Gapping.


Gapping Coordination Type-Logical Categorial Grammar Scope Split scope 



First and foremost, we would like to thank our NLLT editor Louise McNally for her very thoughtful editorial guidance, which made going through the reviewing process an intellectually quite challenging, but an utterly pleasant process. Thanks are also due to the three reviewers for NLLT in this regard, whose comments were extremely useful in shaping both the content and the structure of the paper in the final form. In addition, the paper has benefited from discussions and comments from Kyle Johnson, Michael Moortgat, Glyn Morrill, Carl Pollard and William Schuler. We have presented parts of the paper at NELS 44, Logical Aspects of Computational Linguistics 2012, and Formal Grammar 2013. We thank the abstract reviewers and participants of these conferences, as well as the participants of the LLIC discussion group at OSU for their feedback. The first author was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS; PD 2010–2013 and Postdoctoral Fellowship for Research Abroad 2013–2014) when he worked on this paper, and would like to thank JSPS for its financial support. The second author thanks the Department of Linguistics and College of Arts and Sciences for grant support during the course of the research for this paper over the past two years.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of TsukubaIbarakiJapan
  2. 2.Department of LinguisticsOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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