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International Chair 2023 - Jong-Bok KIM - Université Kyung Hee (Séoul)

We will welcome from June 13, 2023, Professor Jong-Bok KIM from Kyung Hee University (Seoul) for a series of four seminars on the theme "Ellipsis and Response Systems: A Usage and Experimental-based approach".

The seminars will take place on June 13, 20 and 26 and July 03, 2023 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at the Université Paris Cité, Bât. Olympe de Gouges, 8, rue Albert Einstein 75013 Paris - Room to be confirmed.

General summary:

Language comprehension and production both use correspondence relations between form and function, but this mapping relationship breaks down in elliptical constructions in that non-sentential utterances are

mapped into fully propositional meanings. Of these incongruous mapping constructions, response systems are notorious for their complexity with respect to morphosyntactic properties as well as to semantic resolution. The lectures focus on four main types of elliptical response systems prevalent in daily dialogues, and tries to help better understanding of the response systems that play key roles in building successful communication. The lectures will be tied up with the newly launched project “Understanding response systems in natural languages: An empirical and experimental study”, co-working with Prof. Anne Abeille, Prof. Ira A. ́Noveck, and scholars around the world.

Lecture 1 (June 13th, Tuesday): Response systems and an interactive model of grammar

Focusing on the answering particles to polar questions, the lecture sets out with key puzzles raised in understanding their proper uses: mapping relations from simple particles (e.g., yes, no) to complete propositional meaning, parametric differences across languages, effects of the biased contextual information, and so forth (Ginzburg & Sag 2000, Krifka 2013, Roelofsen & Farkas 2015, Holmberg 2016). Traditional wisdom has assumed that languages adopt either the truth-based or polarity-based answering system. The lecture discusses the implications of comprehension and production experiments, and suggests that the two-way distinction of answering systems is rather too restrictive and further that linguistic cues (antecedents) are not enough for the proper use of response particles. The experiment results support the view that it is contextual evidence that plays a pivotal role in the uses of answering particles. Based on these findings, I argue for an interactive model of grammar where the grammar of response systems centers on the interplay among grammatical components such as lexical semantics, syntactic/semantic constraints, and discourse.

Lecture 2 (June 20th, Tuesday): (Negated) Fragment answers as a response

Positive as well as negative fragment answers to wh-questions consist of a non-sentential XP but convey the same propositional content as fully sentential answers (e.g., A: What do they want? B: Money. A: What was his motive? B: Not money.) Fragment answers thus also display incongruous mappings from what appear to be syntactically less than sentential structures to the semantically propositional character (Merchant 2005, Culicover & Jackendoff 2005, Ginzburg & Sag 2000). This lecture evaluates the prevalent minimalist perspective that postulates full-sentential source sentences for positive as well as negative fragment answers in natural languages. The lecture shows that when taking into consideration a wider range of empirical data as well as the results of grammatical judgement experiments, positing putative sentential sources run into many potential problems. The lecture, supporting a direct compositionality approach for positive and negative fragment answers, argues that the complete syntax of fragment is just the categorial phrase projection of the fragment itself.

Lecture 3 (June 26th, Monday): Responses with negative dependencies

Answers to polar or wh-questions license negative expressions like nothing in English (e.g., A: What has he done before and since? B: Nothing/*Anything. A: What are you not telling me? B: Nothing/*Anything.) Unlike English, there are so-called negative concord (NC) languages like Romanian, Italian, and French in which n-words alone (e.g., nimeni in Romanian) can function as fragment answers even though they must be licensed by an overt sentential negator (Giannakaidou 2006, Weir 2020). Licensing negative expressions

as fragment answers has been quite challenging to both move-cum-delete sentential analyses and direct interpretation analyses. The most prevailing account for NC words as fragments is to take NC words as inherently negative or as bearing some NEG features together with sentential sources (Haegeman & Zanuttini 1996. Zeijlstra 2004). This lecture discusses empirical as well as analytical issues for such an inherently negative analysis, based on the behavior of negative dependent expressions in Korean, which is typologi-

cally different from Indo-European Languages. The lecture suggests that a more viable analysis is to directly license such expressions in fragment answer environments and allow for the tight interplay among lexical semantics, syntax/semantics, and context involving conventional implicature.

Lecture 4 (July 3rd, Monday): Responses with correction: A direct interpretation

Fragment answers have received much attention as a type of elliptical constructions and have often been taken as involving move-cum-deletion processes from a sentential source. This sentential approach is challenged by the fragment answer followed by correction (e.g., A: Where are you running to? B: To school, but I am not running.) since the putative sentential source of the PP fragment would contradict with the statement of correction following this source (Liptak 2020). This lecture reviews three possible ́

directions to account for such a form-function mismatch phenomenon: cleft source, lexical accommodation, and mixed quotation-based analyses. All of these directions encounter not only empirical but also analytic difficulties. The lecture suggests that a more robust direction is a direct interpretation approach that involves neither mixed quotation nor hidden clausal structure. It argues that once we have structured and enriched discourse, interlocutors can accommodate the context accordingly, yielding proper semantic resolutions (Ginzburg 2012).


  • Culicover, Peter W. & Ray S. Jackendoff. 2005. Simpler syntax. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Giannakaidou, Anastasia. 2006. N-words and negative concord. In Henk van Riemsdijk et al. (ed.), The blackwell companion to syntax, 327–391. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Ginzburg, Jonathan. 2012. The interactive stance: Meaning for conversation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Ginzburg, Jonathan & Ivan A. Sag. 2000. Interrogative investigations: the form, meaning and use of English interrogatives. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.

  • Haegeman, Liliane & Rafaella Zanuttini. 1996. Negative concord in West Flemish. In Adriana Belletti &

  • Luigi Rizzi (eds.), Parameters and functional heads: essays in comparative syntax, 117–197. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Holmberg, Anders. 2016. The syntax of yes and no. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Krifka, Manfred. 2013. Response particles as propositional anaphors. In Todd Snider (ed.), Proceedings of the 23rd semantics and linguistic theory conference, 1–18.

  • Liptak, Anik ́ o. 2020. Fragments with correction. ́ Linguistic Inquiry 51(1). 154–167.

  • Merchant, Jason. 2005. Fragments and ellipsis. Linguistics and Philosophy 27(6). 661–738.

  • Roelofsen, Floris & Donka F. Farkas. 2015. Polarity particle responses as a window onto the interpretation of questions and assertions. Language 91. 359–414.

  • Weir, Andrew. 2020. Negative fragment answers. In Viviane Deprez & M. Teresa Espinal (eds.), ́ The Oxford handbook of negation. Oxford University Press.

  • Zeijlstra, Hedde. 2004. Sentential negation and negative concord. University of Amsterdam. (Doctoral dissertation).

1 Comment

What is the theme of the seminars?

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