Tanglewood Untangled

Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine, Hadas Kotek


We argue for the existence of covert focus movement in English focus association. Our evidence comes from Tanglewood configurations of the form in Kratzer 1991. We show that Tanglewood configurations are sensitive to syntactic islands, contrary to Kratzer’s claims and predictions. We propose that Tanglewood configurations always involve covert movement of the focused constituent—possibly with covert pied-piping (Drubig 1994; Krifka 1996, 2006; Tancredi 1997, 2004; Wagner 2006; Erlewine & Kotek 2014)—to bind a bound variable in the ellipsis site. This availability of covert pied-piping explains examples such as Kratzer’s which are apparently not island-sensitive. We show that covert focus movement is long-distance and not simply QR. Kratzer’s proposal that ellipsis enforces the identity of focus indices is shown to overgenerate Tanglewood readings.

Full Text:



Beaver, David Ian & Brady Clark. 2008. Sense and Sensitivity: How Focus Determines Meaning. Wiley-Blackwell.

Charlow, Simon. 2008. Free and bound pro-verbs: A unified treatment of anaphora. In Proceedings of SALT XVIII, 198–211.

Chomsky, Noam. 1970. Deep structure, surface structure and semantic interpretation. In Roman Jakobson & S. Kawamoto (eds.), Studies in General and Oriental Linguistics, 62–119. TEC Corporation for Language Research. Reprinted in Semantics: An interdisciplinary reader in philosophy, linguistics and psychology 1971, pages 183–216.

Drubig, Hans Bernhard. 1994. Island constraints and the syntactic nature of focus and association with focus. Arbeitspapiere des Sonderforschungsbereichs 340: Sprachtheoretische Grundlagen der Computerlinguistik 51.

Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka. 2014. Movement out of focus: Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD dissertation.

Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka & Hadas Kotek. 2014. Intervention in focus pied-piping. In Hsin-Lun Huang,

Ethan Poole & Amanda Rysling (eds.), Proceedings of NELS 43 1, 117–130.

von Fintel, Kai. 1997. Bare plurals, bare conditionals, and only. Journal of Semantics 14.

Hamblin, Charles. 1973. Questions in Montague English. Foundations of Language 10(1). 41–53.

Horn, Laurence Robert. 1969. A presuppositional analysis of only and even. In Robert I. Binnick, Alice Davison, Georgia M. Green & J.L. Morgan (eds.), Papers from the Fifth Regional Meeting, 98–107. Chicago Linguistic Society.

Jackendoff, Ray. 1972. Semantic Interpretation in Generative Grammar. MIT Press.

Jäger, Gerhard. 1999. Focus without variables: A multi-modal analysis. In K. N. Shahin, S. Blake & E. Kim (eds.), Proceedings of WCCFL 17, Stanford: CSLI Publications.

Kratzer, Angelika. 1991. The representation of focus. In Arnim von Stechow & Dieter Wunderlich (eds.), Semantik: Ein internationales Handbuch der zeitgenössischen Forschung, 825–834. Walter de Gruyter.

Krifka, Manfred. 1991. A compositional semantics for multiple focus constructions. In Proceedings of SALT 1, 127–158.

Krifka, Manfred. 1996. Frameworks for the representation of focus. In Proceedings of the Conference on Formal Grammar at the 9th European Summer School in Logic, Language, and Information.

Krifka, Manfred. 2006. Association with focus phrases. In Valéria Molnár & Susanne Winkler (eds.), The Architecture of Focus, 105–136. Mouton de Gruyter.

Merchant, Jason. 2008. Variable island repair under ellipsis. In Kyle Johnson (ed.), Topics in Ellipsis, 132–153. Cambridge University Press.

Pesetsky, David. 2007. Undermerge, overmerge, and the secret genitive inside every Russian noun. Presented at Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics (FASL) 16. http://web.mit.edu/linguistics/people/faculty/pesetsky/Pesetsky_ FASL_handout.pdf.

Pesetsky, David. 2013. Russian Case Morphology and the Syntactic Categories. MIT Press.

Rooth, Mats. 1985. Association with focus: University of Massachusetts, Amherst PhD dissertation.

Rooth, Mats. 1992. A theory of focus interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 1. 75–116.

Sauerland, Uli. 2007a. Copying vs. structure sharing: a semantic argument. Lin- guistic Variation Yearbook 7. 27–51.

Sauerland, Uli. 2007b. Focus dependency as structure sharing. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 11, 540–554.

Tancredi, Christopher. 1997. Focus, focus types, and associative operators. Manuscript.

Tancredi, Christopher. 2004. Associative operators. Gengo Kenkyu 125. 31–82.

Velleman, Dan Bridges, David Ian Beaver, Emilie Destruel, Dylan Bumford, Edgar Onea & Liz Coppock. 2012. It-clefts are IT (inquiry terminating) constructions. In Proceedings of SALT 22, 441–460.

Wagner, Michael. 2006. Association by movement: evidence from NPI-licensing. Natural Language Semantics 14(4). 297–324.

Wold, Dag. 1996. Long distance selective binding: the case of focus. In Teresa Galloway & Justin Spence (eds.), Proceedings of SALT 6, 311–328.

Wurmbrand, Susi. 2015. The cost of raising quantifiers. Manuscript, University of Connecticut.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/salt.v26i0.3785

Add comment