The syntax of deep and surface anaphora: A study of null complement anaphora and stripping/bare argument ellipsis

Date of Completion

January 2000


Language, Linguistics




This dissertation provides new empirical support for Hankamer and Sag's (1976) mixed theory of anaphora that argues for the existence of two types of anaphora: surface anaphors which are derived transformationally and deep anaphors which are not. The first part of the thesis investigates Null Complement Anaphora (NCA) in English, Spanish, and Italian (e.g: John's mother asked Peter to clean up his room but he refused__). We show that deep anaphors differ from surface anaphors in that they do not allow extraction (*I know which journal Mary volunteered to read but I don't know which book she volunteered__ (NCA) vs. I know which journal Mary read but I don't know which journal Sally did (VP ellipsis)). ^ We propose that NCA is an element with no internal structure in the syntax; it is a pro-form, the null equivalent of overt predicative/propositional pro-forms (it, so). This accounts for the impossibility of extraction. In the semantics, NCA and other deep anaphors such as do it and do so (which we argue to be a deep anaphor) are free variables that fix their value from a salient property, proposition or question in the linguistic or non-linguistic context. ^ The second part of the thesis is a study of two different types of surface anaphors: stripping/bare-argument ellipsis in English and Spanish ( John read Hamlet, but not El Quijote); and a similar phenomenon in Spanish, which we term Pseudostripping (Juan leyó Hamlet pero El Quijote no/nunca ‘Juan read Hamlet but El Quijote not/never’). We propose that stripping is an instance of IP ellipsis following prior movement of the negation plus remnant to a Focus Position. Pseudostripping is an instance of IP ellipsis prior movement of the remnant to a Focus Position. The presence of a negative element at the end of it is taken as evidence that negation/emphasis (encoded in Sigma) in Spanish is a PF affix, similarly to Tense in English. ^