Article published in:Register Variation and Syntactic Theory
Edited by Diane Massam and Tim Stowell
[Linguistic Variation 17:2] 2017
► pp. 157–185
Object drop and article drop in reduced written register
This paper discusses object drop in English ‘reduced written register’ (RWR), such as recipes (Haegeman 1987a, b, Massam & Roberge 1989, Massam 1992) and diaries. Object drop differs from subject drop in RWR (Haegeman 1997, 2007, this issue); dropped subjects can be of any person and can be expletives, while dropped objects can be third person only and cannot be expletives. I propose that object drop in RWR is dependent on article drop. I analyze null articles in RWR as the presence of a phonologically null determiner with the semantics of a choice function. To analyze object drop, I adopt Tomioka (2003)’s analysis for Japanese null pronouns, in which a null determiner, combined with NP ellipsis, allows a constituent with pronominal-like semantics to go wholly unpronounced. I argue that a similar process is at work in English RWR, and argue that this analysis allows us to understand the person and expletive restrictions.
Keywords: pro-drop, written English, telegraphic register, register variation, object drop, article drop
Published online: 26 January 2018
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