In this squib, I discuss an ellipsis puzzle raised by Barros (2012), involving else-modification in sluicing contexts. On the basis of empirical evidence from Spanish, I conclude that an island repair approach to this puzzle is superior to at least two alternative analyses.

Barros (2012) shows that a nonisomorphic strategy should be available to resolve some elliptical sluicing examples involving else-modification in English.

(1) Jack likes Sally, and he likes someone else too, but I don’t know who.

  • a.

    # . . . who he likes.

  • b.

    . . . who it is.

If the elliptical gap in (1) had an underlying structure containing something similar to (1a), then we would expect a semantic clash, given that Jack likes Sally in the antecedent counts as a partial answer to the question I do not know who he likes. Assuming that being in a not-knowing situation with respect to a question Q implies not having any partial answer to Q, (1a) is derived as a kind of semantic inconsistency (Romero 1998). Such a semantic clash vanishes in the short copulative strategy in (1b). (See Barros 2012 for an explicit formulation.) In any case, our intuition as speakers is that only (1b) is a suitable nonelliptical counterpart for (1).

This experiment can be replicated in Spanish with interesting additional consequences. Thus, in (2a) we should assume that the elliptical site includes an underlying form containing a short copulative structure that is nonisomorphic with respect to its antecedent (see (2b)), because an isomorphic resolution would introduce the semantic clash found in (1a) for English (see (2c)).

(2)

  • Juan comió una banana y comió algo más

    Juan ate a banana and ate something else

    también.

    too

    • a.

      pero no sé qué.

      but not know.I what

    • b.

      pero no sé qué era.

      but not know.I what was.IMP

    • c.

      #pero no sé qué comió.

      but not know.I what ate

      ‘Juan ate a banana and he ate something else too, but I don’t know what (it was).’

It should be noted that a full cleft is also odd here for the semantic reasons discussed above.

(3)

  • #pero no sé qué fue lo que comió.

  • but not know.I what was.PERF what ate

  • ‘but I don’t know what it was he ate.’

Therefore, like English, Spanish resolves some elliptical sites as short copulatives (i.e., pseudosluicing is attested in the language). Consider (4), however, which contains a differentially marked object.

(4)

  • Juan besó a María y besó a alguien más

    Juan kissed ACC María and kissed ACC someone else

    también,

    too

    • a.

      pero no sé a quién.

      but not know.I ACC who

    • b.

      #pero no sé a quién besó.

      but not know.I ACC who kissed

    ‘Juan kissed María and he kissed someone else too, but I don’t know who.’

Here, as in (2b), an isomorphic resolution is semantically inconsistent (see (4b)). The problem, now, is that a nonisomorphic truncated cleft sentence is simply ungrammatical, given that the verb ser ‘to be’ is incompatible with a differential-object-marking (DOM) object (see (5a)).1 Once again, a full cleft strategy is not available here because, even if the result were syntactically well-formed, it would reintroduce the semantic clash already mentioned (see (5b)).2

(5)

  • a.

    *pero no sé a quién era.

    but not know.I ACC who was.IMP

  • b.

    #pero no sé a quién era/fue que besó.

    but not know.I ACC who was.IMP/PERF that kissed

A semantically consistent and syntactically isomorphic strategy would be (a) to take the full coordinate structure in (4) as the antecedent for the sluicing sentence in (4a) and (b) to extract the DOM object from the second conjunct, violating the second part of the Coordinate Structure Constraint (CSC) as originally formulated by Ross (1967).

(6) In a coordinate structure, no conjunct may be moved, nor may any element contained in a conjunct be moved out of that conjunct. (Ross 1967:161, 4.84; emphasis mine)

Implementing the strategy just sketched, the underlying structure for an example like (4a) would be the one illustrated in (7) (paceMerchant 2001). (E = elided)

(7)

  • A: [Juan besó a María y besó a alguien

    Juan kissed ACC María and kissed ACC someone

    más también] pero no sé a quién

    else too but not know.I ACC who

  • E: [[Juan besó a María] y [besó t también]].

    Juan kissed ACC María and kissed too

That this is a semantically consistent analysis follows from the fact that the antecedent is not a partial answer to the question expressed in the complement of the verb saber ‘know’. The reason for this is the presence of the indefinite in the second conjunct: bare indefinites in general cannot be partial answers to questions.

(8)

  • Q: Who saw Mary?

  • A: Peter saw Mary.

  • A′: #Someone saw Mary.

The oddness of (8A′) follows if such an answer is not part of the set of partial answers denoted by Q. The same argument can be extended to (7), but, of course, in this case the question cannot be expressed in its full form because doing so would violate the CSC. A semantically similar question could be the following:

(9)

  • Q: ¿Juan besó a María y a quién más?

    Juan kissed ACC María and ACC who else

  • A: Juan besó a María y besó a Ana también.

    Juan kissed ACC María and kissed ACC Ana too

    ‘Juan kissed María and he kissed Ana too.’

  • A′: #Juan besó a María y besó a alguien

    Juan kissed ACC María and kissed ACC someone

    más también.

    else too

    #‘Juan kissed María and kissed someone else too.’

(9A′) shows that the antecedent in (7) cannot be in the set of partial answers to the particular question expressed in the elliptical constituent. Then, we can safely conclude that this antecedent is the only one that is syntactically isomorphic and semantically consistent with the elliptical site in (7). If this is correct, then this example should be considered a case of island repair (paceBarros, Elliott, and Thoms’s (2014) conclusion against island repair in general), unless other semantic mechanisms are allowed.

For instance, a mutual-entailment approach (see Merchant 2001 and much subsequent work) would claim that a sluicing example like (4a) could have the following underlying structure in the elliptical site:

(10)

  • pero no sé a quién [besó t además de María].

  • but not know.I ACC who kissed besides of María

  • ‘but I don’t know who he kissed besides María.’

As noted by a reviewer, it seems easy to obtain the right equivalences in this case under a mutual-entailment analysis, according to which ellipsis may apply whenever the antecedent and the elided phrase are mutually entailed, regardless of syntactic isomorphism. As shown by Romero (1998), else-modification allows for a ‘besides’ reading under which the individual argument modified by else must be distinct from some salient individual provided by the (linguistic) context. Consider the following example from Romero 1998:51:

(11) She talked to Harry, but I don’t know to who ELSE.

The semantics for the else than–expression is as follows (Romero 1998:52):

(12) 〚else than ae〛 = f ε D⟨e,st〉 such that, for all x ε De, w ε Ds, f(x)(w) = 1 iff x ≰ a in w

According to the denotation in (12) and the semantics of (11), the only felicitous reading for this sentence is that the argument introduced by else is the entity or individual (we call) Harry. This way, the question denied in (11) (‘‘to which individuals—besides Harry—she talked’’) does not introduce any contradiction with knowing that she talked to Harry. If the entity returned by such an argument were distinct from Harry, then the result would be clearly infelicitous.

Returning to (10), we can see that the antecedent [A kissing someone else (than x)], where x = María, entails the elided constituent [E kissing t besides María], where t is the trace of the wh-remnant interpreted, under standard assumptions, as an indefinite (Chung, Ladusaw, and McCloskey 1995, among many others), and vice versa.

There are, however, strong reasons to reject the semantic alternative just mentioned. The evidence comes from a hitherto unnoticed asymmetry in Spanish involving pre- and postverbal coordinated subjects and the first part of the CSC in (6) (see below for additional discussion of the same asymmetry involving the second part of the CSC). Consider the following examples:

(13)

  • Juan y alguien más causaron un escándalo, pero no

  • Juan and someone else caused a scandal but not

  • sé quién #(más).

  • know.I who (else)

  • ‘Juan and someone else caused a scandal, but I don’t know who (else).’

(14)

  • Juan y alguien más cantaron anoche, pero no

  • Juan and someone else sang last.night but not

  • sé quién #(más).

  • know.I who (else)

  • ‘Juan and someone else sang last night, but I don’t know who (else).’

(15)

  • Juan y alguien más entraron, pero no sé quién

  • Juan and someone else entered but not know.I who

  • #(más).

  • (else)

  • ‘Juan and someone else came in, but I don’t know who (else).’

The sentences without más ‘else’ in the sluice remnants are strongly infelicitous, whereas adding más ‘else’, depending on the main focus of the sentence, is felicitous under two readings: that is, in the case of (13), that I do not know who else—besides Juan—caused a scandal, or that I do not know who else caused a scandal on top of the two persons that I know who did it.

I would like to claim that this asymmetry follows from the fact that extraction of a conjunct from a preverbal position is not allowed. Thus, (13) with más ‘else’ present in the remnant is semantically consistent under the two relevant readings because no extraction from a coordinated structure is needed for the relevant readings to obtain.

(16)

  • Juan y alguien más causaron un escándalo, pero no

  • Juan and someone else caused a scandal but not

  • sé quién más [t causó un escándalo].

  • know.I who else caused a scandal

  • ‘Juan and someone else caused a scandal, but I don’t know who else.’

By contrast, for the relevant reading to obtain under the absence of más ‘else’ in the remnant, the only strategy would be to extract a conjunct from the preverbal subject, namely, the wh-remnant, which is impossible.

(17)

  • *pero no sé quién [Juan y t] causaron un

  • but not know.I who Juan and caused a

  • escándalo.

  • scandal

It follows, then, that the sentences in (13)–(15) produce the semantic anomaly already discussed above. Interestingly, the sentences without más ‘else’ in the wh-remnant in (13)–(15) improve considerably when conjunct extraction takes places from a postverbal position, with a preference, for some speakers, for extractions in unaccusative environments.

(18)

  • Causaron un escándalo Juan y alguien más, pero no

  • caused a scandal Juan and someone else but not

  • sé quién.

  • know.I who

(19)

  • Cantaron anoche Juan y alguien más, pero no

  • sang last.night Juan and someone else but not

  • sé quién.

  • know.I who

(20)

  • Entraron Juan y alguien más, pero no sé quién.

  • entered Juan and someone else but not know.I who

Crucially, this contrast cannot be attributed to some utterancefinal effect (see Barros, Elliott, and Thoms 2014), maybe linked to the focus property of final constituents in languages like Spanish. The sentences are perfect if one splits the coordinated subjects by distributing them in preverbal position across different clauses. I will illustrate this point with (14)/(19), although the same effects are obtained with (13)/(18) and (15)/(20).

(21)

  • Juan cantó anoche y alguien más también cantó

  • Juan sang last.night and someone else too sang

  • anoche, pero no sé quién.

  • last.night but not know.I who

  • ‘Juan sang last night and someone else sang last night, but I don’t know who.’

Therefore, this new set of contrasts must be attributed to the ban on conjunct extraction from a preverbal position. This prohibition could result from a freezing effect associated with some preverbal Ā-constituents. If the relevant freezing effect is determined at the conceptual-intentional interface (Gallego 2009, paceRizzi 2006), then we can conclude that island repair, conceived of as a PF phenomenon, cannot be at play here.3

It is worth noting that Barros’s (2012) pseudosluicing strategy cannot be used here, as DOM objects show exactly the same effect as pre- and postverbal subjects.

(22)

  • a.

    A Juan y a alguien más los

    ACC Juan and ACC someone else CL.MASC.3PL.ACC

    desaprobaron, pero no sé a quién #(más).

    failed.they but not know.I ACC who (else)

  • b.

    Desaprobaron a Juan y a alguien más, pero

    failed.they ACC Juan and ACC someone else but

    no sé a quién (más).

    not know.I ACC who (else)

    ‘They failed Juan and someone else, but I don’t know who (else).’

The sentence in (22a) contains a topical DOM object, whereas in (22b) the same coordinated object remains in situ. Again, we see that Barros’s effects do not obtain with the preverbal object. Notice that this set of data seems to be enough to reject the radical semantic analysis discussed earlier: a nonelliptical continuation with además ‘besides’ in the last clause is perfectly grammatical in the same contexts. For the sake of brevity, I only illustrate this with (14).

(23)

  • Juan y alguien más cantaron anoche, pero no

  • Juan and someone else sang last.night but not

  • sé quién cantó anoche además de Juan.

  • know.I who sang last.night besides of Juan

  • ‘Juan and someone else sang last night, but I don’t know who sang last night besides Juan.’

Importantly, this analysis does not necessarily extend to extraction from subjects in EPP languages like English, where, paceRizzi (2006), a different analysis can be assumed, one in which the preverbal subject is PF-derived (see Merchant 2001 for a first suggestion and Van Craenenbroeck and Den Dikken 2006 for more evidence). Spanish preverbal subjects, instead, are not EPP-driven: they seem to be more amenable to an Ā analysis as proposed in Ordóñez 1997 and much subsequent work. Such a derived Ā-position would then be triggered by grammatical and discourse factors not connected to the EPP property in any relevant sense.

Interestingly, if Merchant’s (2001) original analysis for derived islands in English, according to which EPP features triggering such derived positions are canceled under ellipsis at PF, is on the right track, then we would predict a contrast between preverbal coordinated subjects in English and Spanish. An anonymous reviewer notes that this is indeed borne out: (24), where a preverbal coordinated subject contains an else-correlate, admits the absence of else in the sluice remnant with the relevant reading (i.e., that I do not know who was the other person John was singing with).

(24) John and someone else were singing last night, but I don’t know who (else).

The reviewer reports the same judgment for Brazilian Portuguese, another language in which the EPP seems to be at work for the T node (see Barbosa, Duarte, and Kato 2005 for extensive discussion).

(25)

  • João e alguém mais estavam cantando ontem de

  • João and someone else were singing yesterday of

  • noite mas eu não me lembro quem (mais).

  • night but I not CL.1SG remember who (else)

  • ‘João and someone else were singing yesterday night, but I don’t remember who (else).’

Thus, in languages in which preverbal subjects are EPP-driven, a solution of the type proposed by Merchant (2001) is available. Such a solution is not tenable in languages in which pre- and postverbal subject asymmetries are triggered by information structure considerations, such as Spanish.

This contrast between coordinated DPs in pre- and postverbal positions also seems to affect the second part of the CSC involving extraction from coordinated CPs (see (6)), even though judgments are more subtle here, maybe because of the heaviness of coordinated CPs. Yet there is a clear difference between (26) and (27).

(26)

  • Que Juan besó a María y (que) luego besó a

  • that Juan kissed ACC María and (that) then kissed ACC

  • alguien más es cierto, pero no sé a quién

  • someone else is true but not know.I ACC who

  • #(más).

  • (else)

  • ‘That Juan kissed María and that then he kissed someone else is true, but I don’t know who (else).’

(27)

  • Es cierto que Juan besó a María y (que) luego

  • is true that Juan kissed ACC María and (that) then

  • besó a alguien más, pero no sé a quién

  • kissed ACC someone else but not know.I ACC who

  • (más).

  • (else)

  • ‘It is true that Juan kissed María and that then he kissed someone else, but I don’t know who (else).’

Whenever the coordinated CPs are in preverbal position, as in (26), the absence of más ‘else’ in the remnant gives rise to a judgment of semantic inconsistency, which does not arise when the CPs are in postverbal position, as in (27). Notice again that the problem is the coordinated structure in preverbal position and not preverbal CPs per se, which allow for a resolution of the ellipsis site that does not involve extraction from a preverbal CP.

(28)

  • Que Juan besó a alguien es cierto, pero no sé

  • that Juan kissed ACC someone is true but not know.I

  • a quién [TP besó t].

  • ACC who kissed

  • ‘That Juan kissed someone is true, but I don’t know who.’

Like the strategy in (16), this type of evasion strategy constitutes an instance of what Barros, Elliott, and Thoms (2014) call short strategies for other cases of putative island repair across languages. This conclusion is forced by the fact that subject CPs in topic position are islands for extraction, as witnessed by the contrast between (29) and (30).

(29)

  • ¿A quién decís que finalmente es cierto [que Juan

  • ACC who say.you that finally is true that Juan

  • besó t]?

  • kissed

  • ‘Who do you say that, finally, it is true that Juan kissed?’

(30)

  • *¿A quién decís que finalmente [que Juan besó t]

  • ACC who say.you that finally that Juan kissed

  • es cierto?

  • is true

The short strategy is impossible for (26) and (27) without más ‘else’ because in these cases the use of such a strategy would introduce a semantic inconsistency. The island repair solution, according to which extraction from a conjunct is allowed by ellipsis, is semantically consistent but inapplicable to topic preverbal positions for the reasons adduced above. Thus, (27) arises as the only available option also when two CPs are coordinated. Finally, notice that these facts would be incompatible with the mutual-entailment approach already discussed here, because, again, a nonelliptical continuation of (26) containing además ‘besides’ is felicitous.

(31)

  • Que Juan besó a María y (que) luego besó

  • that Juan kissed ACC María and (that) then kissed

  • a alguien más es cierto, pero no sé a

  • ACC someone else is true but not know.I ACC

  • quién besó además de María.

  • who kissed besides of María

  • ‘That Juan kissed María and that then he kissed someone else is true, but I don’t know who he kissed besides María.’

So far, the island repair solution seems to be the only option for resolving the elliptical sites in cases similar to (4a). But of course things are more complex and, before any conclusion is reached, we should discuss a potential counterexample to the island repair analysis raised by two anonymous reviewers and Gary Thoms ( pers. comm.).4

As we will see, the solution to this problem connects with syntactic isomorphism in interesting ways. In my opinion, the putative counterexample involves split antecedents.

(32)

  • Juan besó a María. También besó a alguien

  • Juan kissed ACC María also kissed ACC someone

  • más. Sin embargo, no sé a quién.

  • else however not know.I ACC who

  • ‘Juan kissed María. He also kissed someone else. However, I don’t know who.’

As noted by a reviewer, a full isomorphic continuation here, containing just the verb and the trace of the wh-element, would be as infelicitous as (4b) is. And a pseudosluice source is unlikely for the same reasons as in (5a). I would like to claim that cases like (32) and similar ones are instances of split antecedents that should be resolved by whatever theory resolves well-known cases of split antecedents like (33) (Elbourne 2001, 2008:214).

(33) Mary swam the English Channel. Mary climbed Kilimanjaro. I did too.

Returning to (32), both reviewers suggest that my analysis must depart from isomorphism in order to account for it, given that a coordinate structure must be postulated in the elliptical site that is absent in the antecedent(s).

(34)

  • Juan besó a María. También besó a alguien

  • Juan kissed ACC María also kissed ACC someone

  • más. Sin embargo, no sé a quién [Juan besó

  • else however not know.I ACC who Juan kissed

  • a María y besó t].

  • ACC María and kissed

Although obviously I am not forced to assume such an underlying structure, I would like to suggest in a rather preliminary way that this is, indeed, the underlying structure in the elliptical site of (32). This is not a radical departure from syntactic isomorphism if structural accommodation of antecedents is allowed (e.g., Fox 2000, Van Craenenbroeck 2013, Thoms 2013). In particular, I suggest that a slight modification of Van Craenenbroeck’s (2013:19) assumption in (35) would be enough to account for split antecedents like this.

(35) An accommodated antecedent can only be built up from non-F[ocus]-marked overt material present in the discourse or from elements that are freely available in any discourse.

By elements . . . freely available in any discourse, Van Craenenbroeck, following Merchant (2004, 2010), refers to expletives and copulas like be that are easily accommodated in pseudosluicing cases or in discourse-initial fragments, for instance. I conjecture that a conjunction like and forms a natural class with the set of elements that are freely available for accommodation. Indeed, and and be, as linker elements, seem to share some basic properties. For instance, they are neither θ-role nor Case assigners. If this is correct, then the elliptical site in (34) would be semantically consistent and syntactically isomorphic to an accommodated antecedent built up from the two nonelliptical sentences in (34) and the conjunction y/and. This, of course, constitutes a departure from syntactic isomorphism, but it is independently needed for other well-known cases of split antecedents, as already shown for (33).

It is important to emphasize that I am not claiming to have a theory of split antecedents. There are indeed other options to explore in this respect, Elbourne’s (2008) analysis of split antecedents being a serious candidate. Elbourne proposes that VP- and NP-ellipsis sites are definite descriptions that can take an operator ANDn, which in turn allows resolving the split antecedent cases by taking n TP meanings as arguments and mapping them into the characteristic set of functions that has these meanings as atoms. Interestingly, this analysis could be extended to deal with the cases being explored here without resort to island repair. However, there are two basic problems that such an analysis should resolve before we can take it as a serious alternative. The first involves the pre- and postverbal asymmetries noted in connection with the radical semantic approach discussed above (see (13)–(15) and (18)–(20)). The second is related to the basic assumptions of Elbourne’s theory. Indeed, if VP-ellipsis is analyzed as [vP v [THEP THE RP . . . ANDP . . . ]] (see Elbourne 2008 for details), then every extraction from a VP-ellipsis site must be seen as a case of island repair, given that definite DPs are islands for extraction. Therefore, Elbourne’s approach to ellipsis not only fails to resolve the problem of island repair under ellipsis, but in fact magnifies it. As far as I can tell, some modifications of the syntax of VP-ellipsis proposed by Elbourne must be reconsidered in order to resolve these issues, a task I leave for future research (see Saab and Vicente in preparation, however, for an adaptation of Elbourne’s theory to sluicing).5

Interestingly, the need to accommodate sentences like (32) follows the same governing rule as other cases of split antecedents. As is well-known, a split antecedent reading is triggered in cases like (36) but not in cases like (37) (Fiengo and May 1994,apudElbourne 2008: 208).

(36) I play tennis and I swim, and Max does too.

(37) I play tennis and you swim, and Max does too.

Now, consider (38), which is similar to (32), with the exception that (38) has a different subject for each nonelliptical clause.

(38)

  • Juan besó a María. Pedro besó a alguien más

  • Juan kissed ACC María Pedro kissed ACC someone else

  • también. Sin embargo, no sé a quién [Pedro

  • too however not know.I ACC who Pedro

  • besó].

  • kissed

  • ‘Juan kissed María. Pedro kissed someone else too. However, I don’t know who.’

As in (37), the natural reading here is that I do not know who Pedro kissed; that is, there is no need to postulate an underlying coordination in the ellipsis site. This would follow from Elbourne’s rule: ‘‘Split antecedent readings are available only if the context gives the audience some reason to entertain them’’ (Elbourne 2008:208). Translating this rule to island repair phenomena in general, I suggest that island repair effects obtain only when there are strong reasons to entertain them. For the cases explored in this squib, it seems that the reason is semantic consistency.

Summing up, in this squib I have discussed three solutions to Barros’s (2012) example in (1): (a) Barros’s own solution in (1b) in terms of a copulative strategy; (b) a mutual-entailment approach of the type proposed by Merchant (2001) (see (10)); and (c) an island repair solution (see (7)). Solution (a) is strongly disconfirmed by empirical evidence from Hungarian (Lipták 2013) and, as I have shown here, from Spanish. I have also rejected solution (b) on the basis of new empirical considerations involving pre- and postverbal coordinated subjects in Spanish. To conclude, then, the patterns analyzed here seem to show that some elliptical sites contain islands in their underlying form—in other words, that solution (c) is preferable to its competitors. This, of course, does not force us to accept any of the existing theories of island repair; it forces us only to accept the very existence of the phenomenon that distinguishes long-distance dependencies in elliptical and nonelliptical structures.

Notes

I especially would like to thank Gary Thoms. This squib is just the conclusion I arrived at after a fruitful discussion with him about the basic Spanish pattern discussed here. I also would like to thank Anikó Lipták for first calling my attention to similar data from Hungarian (see Lipták 2013) and for many hours of discussion on this and other ellipsis-related issues. A special acknowledgment goes to Mercedes Pujalte, who ultimately convinced me that I should make this note public. I also thank Dave Embick, Carlos Muñoz Pérez, and Pablo Zdrojewski for their comments on an earlier draft of this squib and for personal discussion at different stages. I have informally presented these ideas to the reading group on ellipsis and contextualism at SADAF (Sociedad Argentina de Análisis Filosófico). Thanks, then, to the members of the group for hearing what I have to say and providing great feedback: Fernando Carranza, Ramiro Caso, Tomás Castagnino, Eduardo García-Ramírez, Justina Díaz Legaspe, Nicolás Lo Guercio, Alfonso Losada, Carlos Muñoz Pérez, Eleonora Orlando, and Pablo Zdrojewski. The detailed comments provided by three anonymous reviewers forced me to strengthen both my theoretical and my empirical claims. I would like to thank them and the LI editors for the time they spent on this work. Finally, I would like to thank Natalia Giollo and Verónica Ferri for proofreading different versions of this squib. All remaining errors are exclusively mine.

1 As shown first in Lipták 2013:2, Hungarian presents a pattern very similar to that of Spanish.

  • (i) Mari meg hívta Jánost, és meg hívott még valakit,

    Mari PV invited János.ACC and PV invited.3SG also someone.ACC

    de nem tudom . . .

    but not know.I

    graphic

    ‘Mari invited János, and she invited someone else, too, but I don’tknow who.’

Lipták makes the important observation that examples like (i) in Hungarian cannot be analyzed as containing a covert else-modifier. (For discussion of this point, see Lipták 2013.)

2 As noted by a reviewer, the same effects are obtained when the más-modified indefinite is inside a clausal adjunct. Here is one of the reviewer’s examples:

  • (i) Juan quiere a María a pesar de que también quiere a alguien

    Juan loves ACC María despite of that also loves ACC someone

    más . . . pero no sé a quién.

    else but not know.I ACC who

    ‘Juan loves María despite the fact that he also loves someone else . . . but I don’t know who.’

As in the case with coordinate structures, a nonelliptical continuation pero no sé a quién quiere Juan ‘but I do not know who Juan loves’ is infelicitous. Although in this squib I will only focus on coordinate structures, cases like (i) could also receive an analysis in terms of island repair along the lines I will propose for coordinate structures.

3An anonymous reviewer wonders whether this approach can be extended to other subextraction phenomena in preverbal topic position in Spanish. Given that the island repair solution seems to be a last resort strategy and that other island-evasive strategies are available in natural language (as argued at length by Barros, Elliott, and Thoms (2014)), the relevant examples are not always easy to construct. Nevertheless, consider (ia) and (ib), involving a clitic-leftdislocated object and an in-situ one, respectively.

(i)

  • a.

    ?*[DP Tu insistencia en ciertos problemas], Juan no

    your insistence in certain problems Juan not

    la soporta más, pero no sé exactamente

    CL.FEM.3SG.ACC tolerates more but not know.I exactly en cuáles.

    in which.PL

  • b.

    Juan no soporta más [DP tu insistencia en ciertos

    Juan not tolerates more your insistence in certain

    problemas], pero no sé exactamente en cuáles.

    problems but not know.I exactly in which.PL

    ‘Juan does not tolerate your insistence on certain problems anymore, but I don’t know exactly on which ones.’

As shown in (ii), possessive DPs like the ones in (ia) and (ib) are islands in Spanish regardless of the pre- and postverbal asymmetry. Yet (ia) is clearly deviant when compared with (ib), which again indicates that ellipsis cannot repair frozen constituents.

  • (ii) ?*¿En cuáles problemas no soporta más tu insistencia?

    in which.PL problems not tolerates more your insistence

    ‘Your insistence on which problems does he not tolerate anymore?’

4An anonymous reviewer suggests another putative counterexample. Concretely, the reviewer suggests that sluices like Barros’s (2012) cases are possible even if the entire first clause is missing and has to be inferred from the nonlinguistic context. Thus, according to the reviewer, ‘‘The sluice in (i) has the same meaning as the one in [(4a)], but the full reply in (ii) is infelicitous in the same way the one in [(4b)] is.’’ (Judgments in (i) and (ii) are the reviewer’s.)

  • (i) [Scenario: As we enter the bar, we see Juan kissing María. You point to him and say:]

    También ha besado a alguien más, pero no sé a quién.

    also has kissed ACC someone else but not know.I ACC who

    ‘He has also kissed someone else, but I don’t know who.’

  • (ii) [Scenario: Same as above.]

    #También ha besado a alguien más, pero no sé a

    also has kissed ACC someone else but not know.I ACC

    quién ha besado.

    who has kissed

‘He has also kissed someone else, but I don’t know who he has kissed.’

First, I have to say I do not share the reviewer’s judgments. For me, both sentences are a bit odd. In an informal questionnaire, consulted speakers gave disparate judgments. More importantly, only one of them has the same robust judgment as the reviewer. Others judge (ii) a bit more degraded than (i), but they do not have a feeling of contradiction with respect to (ii). Still others find both sentences felicitous. Therefore, these kinds of cases deserve deeper exploration.

Second, even so, some of the reviewer’s claims seem doubtful to me. The reviewer claims, ‘‘In order to extend the author’s analysis to (i), one would have to accommodate something like Juan has kissed Maria plus a coordinate structure into the sluicing site.’’ It is not obvious to me that one is forced to accommodate the missing antecedent as ‘Juan has kissed María’; rather, in such a case, the accommodated antecedent is ‘Juan is kissing María.’ If this is indeed the case, then we do not expect (ii) to be infelicitous, because (iii) is not, given that the tense specification in each T node allows us to distinguish two different kissing events.

  • (iii) Juan está besando a María y besó a alguien más

    Juan is kissing ACC María and kissed ACC someone else

    también, pero no sé a quién besó.

    too but not know.I ACC who kissed

    ‘Juan is kissing María and he kissed someone else too, but I don’t know who he kissed.’

5Another well-known candidate for accounting for split antecedent readings in VP-ellipsis is Hardt’s (1999) approach. Hardt proposes a purely semantic view of ellipsis, according to which ellipsis sites do not have any internal structure; they are resolved on the basis of purely contextual and semantic information. Assuming that inflectional elements are proforms, a split antecedent in a VP-ellipsis environment is treated on a par with other well-known cases of split antecedents for pronominal elements. Consider, in this respect, the following examples:

  • (i) John1 arrived, and later Susan2 arrived. They{1,2} left together.

  • (ii) I can1 walk, and I can2 chew gum. Gerry can{1,2} too, but not at the same time.

    (adapted from Webber 1978,apudHardt 1999:207)

Here the proform can takes as antecedent the set-denoting expression {walk, chew-gum}, which applies to Gerry through some additional rule of interpretation (for details, see Hardt 1999:207).

At first glance, Hardt’s view of VP-ellipsis seems to provide a plausible solution to Barros’s (2012) basic case in (1) even without the need to invoke split antecedents. The crucial assumption is taking the C head as part of the set of proforms available in natural language. This proform would return TP meanings under contextual and semantic conditions similar to those applying in the VP-ellipsis examples. Then, for a case like (1) we can postulate the following index information for each C head involved in the structure:

  • (iii) [CP C1 [TP Jack likes Sally]] and [CP C2 [TP he likes someone else too]], but I don’t know [CP who C{2}]

Technical details aside, this representation would amount to saying that C{2} would take as its antecedent the relevant kissing event denoted by the second conjunct. The remnant and elliptical clause would then be reasonably paraphrased as ‘I do not know who is the relevant person who Jack likes in the salient event denoted by C{2}‘. Such an approach, if tenable, would also account for cases like (32) without the need to invoke split antecedents. However, in addition to the important critique of Hardt’s approach to split antecedents raised by Elbourne (2008), this analysis would face the same problem as Elbourne’s own analysis: namely, it would not capture the pre- and postverbal asymmetries in (13)–(15) and (18)–(20), respectively (see also the contrast between (26) and (27)). In addition, the analysis in (iii) does not seem to be directly extendable to simple cases of DP-coordination (e.g., Jack likes Sally and someone else, but I do not know who), where there seems to be only one relevant event to take as antecedent. Other well-known problems with such weak approaches to ellipsis are also applicable to this case (failure to account for extraction from ellipsis sites, case-matching effects, and so on).

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