Wednesday 26 April – James Griffiths

Speaker: James Griffiths (University of Konstanz/LUCL)
Title: Echo fragments: preliminary remarks
Date: Wednesday 26 April
Venue: Lipsius 30
Time: 15.15-16.30 hrs
 
Abstract 
Echo fragments (1b) are the fragmentary (i.e. elliptical) versions of true echo questions (1a) (Sobin 2010).

  • Context: A and B are organising the Oscars award ceremony.

A:          Make sure the Oscar is presented by the husband of Michelle Obama.

Incredulous that A wants an Oscar to be presented by an ex-president, B replies:
a:

  • B: Make sure it’s presented by the husband of whom?
    B: Make sure it’s presented by the husband of Michelle Obama?

b:

  • B: Presented by the husband of whom?
    B: Presented by the husband of Michelle Obama?

To date, echo fragments have received scant attention in literature that adopts a PF-deletion (Ross 1969, Merchant 2001) approach to ellipsis (for cursory remarks, see Abe & Tancredi 2013). This oversight is unfortunate, as echo fragments, being in-situ questions in wh-movement languages such as English, have the potential to be highly instructive for such theories.
To remedy this oversight, Güliz Güneş, Anikó Lipták, and I have recently embarked on the first in-depth cross-linguistic investigation of echo fragments (which focusses on English, Hungarian, and Turkish). This talk provides an introduction to data collected so far, highlights points of cross-linguistic variation, and provides speculative remarks about how these data should be analysed and what they might tell us about the nature of ellipsis (and echoicity more generally).

References
Abe, J. & C. Tancredi. 2013. Non-Constituent Deaccenting and Deletion: A Phase-Based Approach. Ms., Tohoku Gakuin University & Keio University.
Merchant, J. 2001. The Syntax of Silence. OUP.
Merchant, J. 2004. Fragments and ellipsis. Linguistics & Philosophy 27: 661-738.
Ross, John R. 1969. Guess who? In R. Binnick et al. (eds.) CLS5. Chicago Linguistic Society, 252–286.
Sobin, N. 2010. Echo questions in the Minimalist program. Linguistic Inquiry 41: 131-148.

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