Interpretations of VP anaphora through reference to salient events

Kanan Luce, Jeffrey Geiger, Christopher Kennedy, Ming Xiang


Previous work has largely agreed that the verbal anaphors do it/this/that can freely be resolved with respect to information in either the linguistic or nonlinguistic context, whereas there has been more debate regarding the resolution strategy for verb phrase ellipsis. We present an experiment that confirms the intuition that interpretations of do that are highly sensitive to information in the nonlinguistic context. Comparison to a prior experiment on verb phrase ellipsis using the same paradigm reveals that ellipsis is much less sensitive to nonlinguistic manipulations, suggesting that it is not resolved solely with respect to salient discourse events, and that there is a separate linguistic identity requirement for ellipsis.


verb phrase anaphora; do that; resolution; nonlinguistic context; antecedent; numerals; verb phrase ellipsis

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Copyright (c) 2018 Kanan Luce, Jeffrey Geiger, Christopher Kennedy, Ming Xiang

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