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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, we argue that ellipsis is a phenomenon that directly parallels anaphora, hence providing direct evidence of the concept of context on which natural language (NL) processing depends. From this perspective, we argue first that, in failing to give due recognition to the interactive and multimodal nature of NL processing, theoretical linguistics has entered a stalemate situation in which no unitary account of ellipsis is possible. The alternative Dynamic Syntax account that we provide next, however, presents ellipsis as a test case for the view that each NL constitutes a set of mechanisms for situated human interaction, with syntax not as a level of representation, but instead comprising a set of procedures for incrementally and predictively effecting conceptual structure–NL-string mappings. The significance of the extended set of so-called ‘elliptical’ phenomena that are examined from this perspective is that they all provide evidence for the seamless integration of NL structures and processing under domain-general action and perception processes.

Keywords: Dynamic Syntax, ellipsis, anaphora, dialogue, correction, clarifications, split utterances, incrementality

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