University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


We compare two views of ellipsis and its place in grammar. One view holds that ellipsis is a form of prosodic reduction (optional omission of deaccented material). An alternative and currently dominant view holds that ellipsis is more syntactic than this, requiring remnants of deletion to undergo extraction to a clause-peripheral position in narrow syntax. We discuss some general problems of this approach and go on to provide a novel set of data involving modal particles in German, which we show to be incompatible with its fundamental assumptions. Our conclusion is that the move-and-delete theory of ellipsis should be abandoned, and deletion properly confined to the phonological component.