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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Ellipsis provides a quintessential acquisition challenge—deleted material is an obvious instance of poverty of the stimulus. This chapter reviews the naturalistic and experimental evidence to evaluate how far UG allows immediate correct projection of VP and NP ellipsis, based on Merchant’s (2014) E-features. It develops an acquisition theory whereby a child moves, step by step, from Open Interfaces to isomorphic Strict Interfaces between LF and syntax which entails full reconstruction. The approach both utilizes pro as an initial default and explains why it remains in the final grammar for particularly complex constructions. It follows an economy principle: minimize recovery by contextual inference. The analysis is extended to sluicing, ACD, fragments, and the projection of QUD, and engages English, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Italian, and African-American English.

Keywords: licensing, Strict Interfaces, recoverability, E-feature, Strict Identity Hypothesis, partitivity, full reconstruction, inference, pragmatics, learnability

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