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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the phenomenon of sluicing, a type of clausal ellipsis whereby an entire interrogative clause is missing save for a wh-phrase. Sluicing consists of a number of subtypes, each one exhibiting its own properties and restrictions. Given that the properties and restrictions of any given subtype tend to be the properties and restrictions of some independently available strategy of wh-question formation, the most parsimonious analysis is the one advanced by Ross (1969) and Merchant (2001): sluicing is a purely PF-side operation, i.e. non-pronunciation of a regular wh-question, without affecting its syntactic or semantic properties. At the same time, we need to contend with the fact that this seems to be only a tendency (albeit a remarkably strong one), rather than an exceptionless generalization: there exist cases of sluicing that appear to resist assimilation to a pure deletion approach. Determining whether they are genuine exceptions (and if so, exactly which factors allow them to be exceptional) is arguably one of the main issues that an eventual comprehensive, insightful theory of the taxonomy of sluicing must resolve.

Keywords: sluicing, pseudosluicing, isomorphic sluicing, non-isomorphic sluicing, multiple sluicing, clefting, island repair, wh-in-situ, wh-movement, focus movement

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