[Ads-l] Sluicing

Geoffrey Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Mon Oct 23 11:27:51 UTC 2017

The term dates from an earlier period in generative syntax in which syntactic objects moved past other constituents over considerable distance. The image of a sluice-gate was definitely intended to be evoked, but perhaps those who were more deeply embedded in the 1970s syntactic ethos could elucidate without having to break out all the old texts. And yes, I think Haj Ross was the coiner.


Geoffrey S. Nathan
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Emeritus Professor, Linguistics Program

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From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of W Brewer <brewerwa at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Monday, October 23, 2017 2:01 AM
Subject: Sluicing

---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       W Brewer <brewerwa at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Sluicing

Dear linguists,
     I understand that yer use of <sluicing> is "a type of ellipsis that
occurs in both direct and indirect interrogative clauses. The ellipsis is
introduced by a wh-expression, whereby in most cases, everything except the
wh-expression is elided from the clause. Sluicing has been studied in
detail in recent years and is therefore a relatively well understood type
of ellipsis.[1]"  Wp's footnote 1 implicates Ross 1969 as possible
     Q:  What the h*** does the word <sluice> have to do with post-wh
deletion? Was it a spelling error for <slicing> & nobody dared to correct
him or what? I just can't picture a water chute in this usage. Snipping &
clipping have a less watery connotation, anyways.
     Ah gotsta no.

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