A comparative study of selected ellipsis constructions in English and IsiZulu.
Bevis, Andrew John.
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This work is a comparative study of verb phrase ellipsis (and verb-stranding verb phrase ellipsis), sluicing and gapping, along with some of their subtypes, in English and the Bantu language isiZulu. The goal of the present study was to determine from the literature how ellipsis is characterised in English and which ellipsis constructions are attested in isiZulu, which remains practically unstudied in this regard. There is a large body of literature written in the framework of the Minimalist Program (as part of Generative Grammar) on these ellipsis constructions as they appear in English. I draw on selected discussions from this literature in order to give an overview of these constructions and of the key research questions surrounding the study of ellipsis. These questions involve the nature of the ellipsis site in which linguistic material that would otherwise be required is not pronounced but is nevertheless still interpreted, how ellipsis is licensed, how unpronounced material is recovered and how the process of ellipsis is implemented. This thesis focuses on arguments which suggest that the ellipsis site contains fully articulated syntactic structure which is elided by way of being deleted at PF under the correct focus conditions. Evidence for syntactic conditions on ellipsis is also considered, as are some alternative analyses of ellipsis. The literature on ellipsis in Bantu languages is very scant. I highlight the findings of the few studies on Bantu which do exist, and make an original contribution to this area of study by providing data for the aforementioned ellipsis constructions in isiZulu. Unlike the Bantu languages which have already been reported on, isiZulu does seem to have a type of VP-ellipsis which is just like English VP-ellipsis. A further unexpected finding is that isiZulu does not have verb-stranding VP-ellipsis, which has been reported to exist in some Bantu languages as well as in non-Bantu languages with verb raising. Finally, sluicing and gapping have been reported to be possible in some Bantu languages, and my data shows that they are attested in isiZulu as well.