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Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Linguistics | Syntax
This dissertation proposes a novel analysis of as-parentheticals, a class of anaphoric constructions introduced by the morpheme as. These include utterances like Mary kissed a pig, as John also will and Tim is happy, as is Daisy. I defend the view that the anaphoric component of these constructions is derived by verb phrase ellipsis. This builds on previous research (especially Lacara 2015, To Appear) that argues that as-parentheticals must contain elided syntactic structure rather than null operator movement as originally proposed by Potts (2002).
I also propose an analysis for some of the unusual properties that as-parentheticals display. Although ellipsis is usually an optional operation, the ellipsis is in as-parentheticals is obligatory. Likewise, the locality conditions on the antecedent are more stringent than they are in run-of-the-mill VPE. I develop an account of these facts that builds on recent work on manner similatives. The locality condition is the result of the specific syntax and semantics of the as-parenthetical and is separate from the antecedent conditions on ellipsis. I argue that null operator movement, which is in part responsible for deriving the locality condition, violates an island at PF. The only way to ameliorate this violation, following Kennedy and Merchant (2000), is to elide the vP, explaining why ellipsis is obligatory in this construction.
Finally, I turn to the unusual inversion that occurs in as-parentheticals. Subject can appear after all of the auxiliaries in an as-parenthetical; for example, Mary might have been reading Moby-Dick, as might have been Sam. This order cannot be generated by head movement, which derives the more common subject--auxiliary inversion in questions. I propose that subjects remain low in the structure, similar to the VSO orders found in some Romance languages like Spanish. A comparison with locative inversion shows that the subjects in these two constructions are in slightly different surface positions. I argue that the placement of the subject in inverting as-parentheticals is the result of the interaction of focus with ellipsis. Following Weir (2014), I propose that subjects move to a position just outside vP in order to escape ellipsis at PF, since these subjects are required to receive focus and eliding them would prevent this from occurring.
LaCara, Nicholas J., "Anaphora, Inversion, and Focus" (2016). Doctoral Dissertations May 2014 - current. 746.