Sentence amalgamation

Author: Marlies Kluck
LOT Number: 285
ISBN: 978-94-6093-068-3
Pages: 389
Year: 2011
€38.00
Download this book as a free Open Access fulltext PDF

Sentence amalgamation

This thesis sheds new light on an old puzzle in linguistics: the intriguing phe -
nomenon of sentence amalgamation, where two clauses are intertwined and
seem to revolve around a pivot constituent, the ‘content kernel’. The clauses
involved, the matrix and the ‘interrupting’ clause, are root clauses, which are
syntactically opaque to each other. The content kernel itself, however, is mys -
terious in this regard: it appears to be accessible for the matrix as well as the
interrupting clause, and the position of the interrupting clause in the matrix
seems to depend on the category of the content kernel.

In an innovative approach, the author argues that the content kernel is in fact
the remnant of sluicing, and A’-moves out of an ellipsis site in the interrupting
clause. The apparent transparency of the content kernel then follows directly
from reconstruction. This idea also accounts for a number of other well-at-
tested properties of sluicing that resonate in amalgams: case matching, cross-
linguistic variation related to preposition stranding and island-insensitivity.
A detailed study of the interpretation of amalgams reveals that interrupting
clauses can only express speaker-oriented content, which concerns precisely
the missing matrix constituent. This is evidence for an analysis in terms of
anchored parenthesis. Putting this together with the sluicing approach, the
correspondence between the content kernel and its position in the matrix is
ultimately derived via a general licensing condition for sluicing.

This study is relevant for scholars interested in root phenomena, sluicing, spea -
ker-orientation, and parentheticals, as well as a general syntactic and seman-
tic readership.

Sentence amalgamation

This thesis sheds new light on an old puzzle in linguistics: the intriguing phe -
nomenon of sentence amalgamation, where two clauses are intertwined and
seem to revolve around a pivot constituent, the ‘content kernel’. The clauses
involved, the matrix and the ‘interrupting’ clause, are root clauses, which are
syntactically opaque to each other. The content kernel itself, however, is mys -
terious in this regard: it appears to be accessible for the matrix as well as the
interrupting clause, and the position of the interrupting clause in the matrix
seems to depend on the category of the content kernel.

In an innovative approach, the author argues that the content kernel is in fact
the remnant of sluicing, and A’-moves out of an ellipsis site in the interrupting
clause. The apparent transparency of the content kernel then follows directly
from reconstruction. This idea also accounts for a number of other well-at-
tested properties of sluicing that resonate in amalgams: case matching, cross-
linguistic variation related to preposition stranding and island-insensitivity.
A detailed study of the interpretation of amalgams reveals that interrupting
clauses can only express speaker-oriented content, which concerns precisely
the missing matrix constituent. This is evidence for an analysis in terms of
anchored parenthesis. Putting this together with the sluicing approach, the
correspondence between the content kernel and its position in the matrix is
ultimately derived via a general licensing condition for sluicing.

This study is relevant for scholars interested in root phenomena, sluicing, spea -
ker-orientation, and parentheticals, as well as a general syntactic and seman-
tic readership.

Categories