Sluicing in Chicago

For a while now, I’ve been wrestling with the affirmative exclamation and how! (Do you like the soup? –And how!), which I’d thought of as uncomplicated but turned out to lead me down several rabbit holes (my life is studded with experiences like this one). One of which involves the ellipsis-under-identity construction known as Sluicing.

Then, as it happens, there’s a conference now going on — today and tomorrow — at the University of Chicago on “Sluicing and Ellipsis at 50”, celebrating the ground-breaking paper on Sluicing, presented at the spring 1969 meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society and then published in the CLS proceedings: Haj Ross’s “Guess Who?”

Sluicing. From my 4/25/11 posting “The siren song of whom”:

In its simplest form, Sluicing allows the omission of all of the material in an embedded WH-interrogative clause, leaving only the initial WH phrase:

Kim had done something illegal, and we all wondered what___. [ellipsis understood as Kim had done ___, where the underlines indicate the position from which the WH phrase has been “extracted”]

Sandy is moving west, but I don’t know (to) where ___. [ellipsis understood as Sandy is moving ___]

(You will quickly see that there are complexities in the relationship between the ellipted material and the antecedent material that in some sense licenses the ellipsis: as with all ellipsis constructions, there are knotty questions about what counts as identity between ellipsis and antecedent. Further complexities come from the fact that the WH phrase in the Sluiced clause is clause-initial rather than in its expected location within the clause; in process-talk, it has been extracted from its expected location and fronted,  moved  to the front.)

Chicago: the conference announcement. From the conference website:

(#1) The game

In the spring of 1969, Haj Ross presented “Guess who?” at the fifth annual meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society and published it in the resulting proceedings. The spring of 2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the presentation and publication of this landmark paper, which opened the door to a wide range of important discoveries on the interface between phonological, syntactic, and semantic systems of grammar. The construction that Ross named, sluicing, sits at the intersection of two of the most important areas of grammatical theory in the past half-century: the theory of movement, in particular, the locality of unbounded dependencies and islands to movement, and the theory of ellipsis, where there is linguistic meaning without the expected form.

(#2) The Canadian band

This conference in celebration of this landmark work in linguistic theory [organized by Jason Merchant], “Sluicing and ellipsis at 50”, will be held at the University of Chicago on Friday and Saturday, April 12-13, 2019.

Chicago: the program. With links to abstracts for some of the papers (invited speakers in boldface, plenary speakers in BOLDFACE CAPS):

DAY 1 – Friday, April 12, 2019

9:00-9:45 Kyle Johnson (UMass-Amherst): Do we know how many?

9:45-10:30 Anikó Lipták (Leiden University): Extraction from copulars is bled by ellipsis: On the interaction of head movement, phrasal movement, and ellipsis

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-11:30 Andrés Saab (CONICET-UBA): Ellipsis. Guess where, when and how

11:30-12:15 Matt Barros (Washington University) & Hadas Kotek (Yale University): Semantic Identity under Discussion

12:15-1:30 Lunch + Poster session

— Barbara Citko (University of Washington): Negative Fragments and VP Ellipsis

— Gesoel Mendes & Nick Huang (University of Maryland): Null subjects and ellipsis from an idiom perspective

— Vahideh Rasekhi (UC Los Angeles): Two types of why in syntax: Evidence from Why-stripping in Persian

— Marie-Luise Schwarzer (University of Leipzig): Parasitic gapping: Determiner sharing is gapping + LEE

1:30-2:00 Jason Merchant (The University of Chicago): Focus-marking inside ellipsis sites

2:00-2:30 Patrick Elliott (ZAS) and Yasutada Sudo (University College London): The dynamics of ellipsis identity

2:30-3:00 David Potter & Katy Carlson (Morehead State University): The Partial and Complete Island Repair Of Stripping

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-4:00 Susanne Winkler (Tübingen University): Complex sluicing in German

4:00-4:45 Klaus Abels (University College London): P-stranding under sluicing and the pied-piping generalization

4:45-5:00 Break

5:00-6:30 HOWARD LASNIK (University of Maryland): Ellipsis and Identity: Reflections on “Guess Who?”

DAY 2 – Saturday, April 13, 2019

9:00-9:45 Masaya Yoshida (Northwestern University): Condition C reconstruction, clausal ellipsis and island repair

9:45-10:30 Ingo Reich, Robin Lemke & Lisa Schäfer (Saarland University): Elke dances. Guess with whom!

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-11:15 Tanja Temmerman (Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles): When the sluice is not alone… On the syntax of WH+non-WH sluicing in Dutch

11:15-11:45 Laura Stigliano (The University of Chicago): Revisiting the interaction between P-stranding and clausal ellipsis in Spanish

11:45-12:15 Anne Abeillé (LLF, University Paris Diderot) and Shrita Hassamal (MIE): Sluicing in two French based-creoles: a fragment-based analysis

12:15-1:30 Lunch + Poster session

— Yoshiki Fujiwara (University of Connecticut): Sprouting: A key to unifying Japanese sluicing

— Daniel Hardt (Copenhagen Business School) & Deniz Rudin (UC Santa Cruz): Sluicing and Modal Mismatches

— Andrew Murphy (University of Leipzig): Voice mismatches beyond passives: Sluicing with active impersonal antecedents

— Till Poppels & Andrew Kehler (UC San Diego): Sluicing inferred propositions

— Richard Stockwell & Deborah Wong (UC Los Angeles): Ellipsis sites as antecedents: sluicing and except

1:30-2:15 Jim McCloskey (UC Santa Cruz): Theory and Annotation: the Santa Cruz Sluicing Database

2:15-3:00 Gary Thoms (NYU): Reassessing case-matching

3:00-3:45 Vera Gribanova (Stanford): Head movement, ellipsis, and identity: the view from Uzbek

3:45-4:00 Break

4:00-4:30 Craig Sailor (University of Tromsø): Situating ellipsis within the derivational timeline

4:30-5:00 Idan Landau (Ben Gurion University): A Scope Argument Against C’-deletion

5:00-5:15 Break

5:15-6:45 HAJ ROSS (UNorth Texas): Sluice on!


2 Responses to “Sluicing in Chicago”

  1. Ralph T Edwards Says:

    The first time I heard a German say Und Wie! with the same meaning as And How! I was surprised, and immediately wondered whether it was an American loan translation. Is And How! used in the UK?

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    Easy answer: And How! is specifically North American.

    Hard answer, which has been bedeviling me: the OED’s current suggestion is that And How! is a translation of Gm Und Wie! from the mid-19th century. But all the circumstances surrounding the borrowing are obscure, and it would be a major labor of text searching / interpretation and investigation of sociocultural contexts to clarify things. (Nothing I could do myself, but I can try to clarify the problems, which are multiple and complex. Watch this space.)

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