A comparative study of tense and ellipsis

Date of Completion

January 1998


Language, Linguistics|Language, Modern




This thesis is about Tense systems within noun phrases and elliptical constructions. The first half of the thesis concerns the interpretive differences on Tenses caused by Specificity of object NPs. ^ In chapter 2, I argue that one of the differences between a specific NP and a non-specific NP is related to another temporal phrase that a specific NP has but a non-specific NP does not have. In Chapter 3, a few other differences between a specific and a non-specific object NPs are discussed; in other words, I argue that a specific object NP ends up occupying a different syntactic position than a non-specific object NP does. In doing so, I will focus on Japanese, in which there has been very little discussion about Specificity. ^ In the second half of the thesis, I will discuss the temporal interpretations in ellipsis constructions; namely, Antecedent-Contained Deletions and Sluicing. ACDs are claimed to be only made with a specific NP object; hence, the temporal system within a specific NP that is discussed in Chapter 2 and 3 becomes crucial in this chapter. After discussing Tense systems in ACDs, I will move my discussion to Tense and Aspect Parallelism that is observed in ACDs. There has been a lot of disputation concerning how ellipsis sentences are constructed. One side argues that it is a deletion process that takes place in PF under identity and the other side argues that it is a copying process that takes place in LF. Looking at some semantic phenomenon such as Tense, I will claim that LF-copying is necessary to account for this phenomenon. In the last chapter, I will discuss the similar line of comparison of Tense and Ellipsis—Sluicing. I propose that we can find a strong relationship between Tense and Pronouns in Sluicing examples. ^