A study of Spanish nominal ellipsis

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

John B. Jensen

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mehmet Yavas

Third Advisor's Name

Monica Prieto

Date of Defense



This study seeks to account for the ungrammaticality of nominal ellipsis with definite articles, pre-nominal possessives, and quantifier todos ('all') and elucidate the role post-nominal adjectives and possessives, prepositional phrases headed by de ('of), and clauses headed by que ('that') play in facilitating ellipsis in otherwise ungrammatical environments. The theoretical approach combines syntax and semantics and intertwines notions of semantic identity, accent placement, entailment, and feature theory as proposed in Merchant (2001) and Schwarzchild (1999). The main claim is that licensing and identification of Spanish nominal ellipsis is three-fold and requires semantic identity between the antecedent and the ellipsis, a two-way entailment of the phrases containing the antecedent and the ellipsis site, and a feature-checking operation. The findings show that definite articles, pre-nominal possessives, and quantifier todos breach (some of) these requirements, while elements such as post-nominal adjectives reverse the effects of some of these violations, facilitating ellipsis.



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