Sluicing, Sprouting and Missing Objects

Yen-Hui Audrey Li 1  and Ting-Chi Wei 2
  • 1 University of Southern California,
  • 2 National Kaohsiung Normal University,


Taking “sluicing” to be derived by movement + deletion, as represented by , and “pseudo-sluicing” to be a base-generated structure [pro (+be) + wh] (going by ; Adams 2004), this paper reviews arguments for and against the presence of a sluicing construction in Mandarin Chinese. We show that all the tests available in the literature do not argue against the presence of such a sluicing construction, except the test building on the distribution of the copula shi. Unfortunately, the shi test is demonstrated to be uncertain and it cannot be used to argue conclusively that only a base-generation pseudo-sluicing analysis should be adopted. We show that a much clear evidence for an exclusive pseudo-sluicing analysis comes from the behavior of the sprouting construction. Investigation of sprouting also sheds light on the properties of null arguments, topic-variable relation, locality, and subcategorization of verbs in the language.

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