Null object (NO) constructions in Korean and Japanese have received different accounts: as (a) argument ellipsis ( Oku 1998 , S. Kim 1999 , Saito 2007 , Sakamoto 2015 ), (b) VP-ellipsis after verb raising ( Otani and Whitman 1991 , Funakoshi 2016 ), or (c) instances of base-generated pro ( Park 1997 , Hoji 1998 , 2003 ). We report results from two experiments supporting the argument ellipsis analysis for Korean. Experiment 1 builds on K.-M. Kim and Han’s (2016) finding of interspeaker variation in whether the pronoun ku can be bound by a quantifier. Results showed that a speaker’s acceptance of quantifier-bound ku positively correlates with acceptance of sloppy readings in NO sentences. We argue that an ellipsis account, in which the NO site contains internal structure hosting the pronoun, accounts for this correlation. Experiment 2, testing the recovery of adverbials in NO sentences, showed that only the object (not the adverb) can be recovered in the NO site, excluding the possibility of VP-ellipsis. Taken together, our findings suggest that NOs result from argument ellipsis in Korean.
Since Chomsky 1976 , it has been claimed that focus on a referring expression blocks coreference in a cataphoric dependency (* His i mother loves JOHN i vs. His i mother LOVES John i ). In three auditory experiments and a written questionnaire, we show that this fact does not hold when a referent is unambiguously established in the discourse (cf. Williams 1997 , Bianchi 2009 ) but does hold otherwise, validating suggestions in Rochemont 1978 , Horvath 1981 , and Rooth 1985 . The perceived effect of prosody, we argue, building on Williams’s original insight and deliberate experimental manipulation of Rochemont’s and Horvath’s examples, is due to the fact that deaccenting the R-expression allows hearers to accommodate a salient referent via a “question under discussion” ( Roberts 1996/2012 , Rooth 1996 ), to which the pronoun can refer in ambiguous or impoverished contexts. This heuristic is not available in the focus cases, and we show that participants’ interpretation of the pronoun is ambivalent here.