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Jesse Harris


Monday, April 13 at 2 PM in AP&M 4301. Jesse Harris (UCLA) will be presenting.

Processing Preferences in Focus-Sensitive Coordination: Locality and Parallelism.
joint with Katy Carlson (Morehead State University)

Focus-sensitive coordinators like 'much less' and 'let alone' establish a complex semantic contrast between its conjuncts (Fillmore, Kay, & O'Connor, 1988). For example, 'John can't run a MILE, much less a MARATHON' compares 'a mile' with 'a marathon' so that 'a mile' is ranked lower than 'a marathon' on some contextually salient scale. Expanding on arguments from Hulsey (2008) and Toosarvandani (2010), I propose that focus-sensitive coordination requires ellipsis, so that what seems like the second conjunct 'a marathon' is actually the remnant of vP/CP ellipsis, as in move and delete analyses (e.g., Frazier, Potter, & Yoshida, 2012; Sailor & Thoms, 2013). I review results from corpus research and several experimental studies in collaboration with Katy Carlson that support this claim. In particular, processing focus-sensitive coordination is shown be sensitive to constraints active in processing ellipsis, including (i) a bias for more local correlates and (ii) a preference for parallelism. In this talk, I explore the preference for parallelism in 'Adjective sprouting' in which the remnant ('a RED one') semantically contrasts with an element not present in the correlate ('a hat') from the preceding clause, as in 'I don't think I own a hat, much less a RED one.' Implications for processing of ellipsis structures are discussed.

Fillmore, C. J.,  Kay, P. & O'Connor, C. (1988). Regularity and Idiomaticity in Grammatical Constructions. The Case of Let Alone. Language, 64: 501-538.

Frazier, M., Potter, D. & Yoshida, M. (2012). Pseudo-NP-Coordination. In: Proceedings of WCCFL 30, pp. 142-152. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

Hulsey, S. M. (2008). Focus sensitive coordination. PhD thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

Sailor, C., & Thoms, G. (2013, February). On the non-existence of non-constituent coordination and non-constituent ellipsis. In: Proceedings of WCCFL 31, pp. 361-370. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

Toosarvandani, M. (2010). Association with foci. PhD Thesis, University of California, Berkeley.