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Steedman, Mark: Coordination, Ellipsis, and Information Structure

The paper begins by drawing a distinction among the topics addressed by the theme of the session between grammatical (RNR, gapping etc.) and anaphoric (VP anaphora, sluicing etc.) varieties of ellipsis, recalling Hankamer and Sag 1976. Among grammatical ellipses, there is a conspiracy between unbounded constructions like relativization, intonational phrasing, and ellipses like gapping, all of which seem to apply to or give rise to non-constituent fragments, contrary to the constituent condition on rules. A number of theories including GPSG and HPSG have reacted to this problem by restoring constituent status to some or all such fragments under some generalized notion of constituency.

The paper looks at the specific problem of intonation structure in English, and shows, following Steedman 2000a,b, that the system of combinatory rules available in CCG can explain intonation structure in terms of exactly the same syntactic mechanism used for other varieties of ellipsis including coordination and relativization. The paper offers a novel information-structural semantics for intonation structure couched in a version of Mats Rooth's Alternative Semantics, and addresses certain shortcomings in earlier versions of both theories.

The paper concludes by addressing the question of how a similar analysis could be imported into HPSG. Following Klein's 2000 paper to this conference, it concludes that this is entirely possible, but notes some redundancy with the existing slash feature treatment of long-range dependency, suggesting that we need to look deeper for commonalities across these two formalisms.

Slides available at: http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/steedman/papers/prosody/hpsg12.pdf

Maintained by Stefan Müller

Created: October 17, 2012
Last modified: January 09, 2019

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