Resumption as Resource Management

Ash Asudeh, 2004
Ph.D. thesis, Department of Linguistics, Stanford University.
483 pages
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Awarded the 2005 E.W. Beth Dissertation Prize by the
Association for Logic, Language and Information (FoLLI)

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This dissertation presents a theory of resumption based on semantic composition. The theory achieves a unified explanation of resumptive pronouns and copy raising. The basis is two key claims: 1) the pronouns in resumption are ordinary pronouns, 2) natural language is resource-sensitive. The latter is the guiding hypothesis of the dissertation: Resource Sensitivity. It is the claim that elements of semantic combination cannot be reused or discarded and is derived from the resource logical approach to the syntax-semantics interface and semantic composition, in particular Glue Semantics. Resource logics yield a useful perspective on linguistic combinatorics in general (phonology, syntax, semantics), but must be constrained by linguistic theory in order to maintain a linguistically useful notion of Resource Sensitivity. It is argued that a number of proposals in the literature can be reduced to Resource Sensitivity while maintaining their insights.

The hypothesis is investigated empirically with respect to resumptive pronouns. Resumptives challenge Resource Sensitivity, since they constitute surplus resources for semantic composition. A resource management theory of resumption is presented, which introduces the licensing mechanism of manager resources. Manager resources are associated with lexical specifications for complementizers. Cross-linguistic variation for grammaticized resumptives is explained as lexical variation.

The resource management theory is applied to analyses of Irish, Swedish and Hebrew. The analysis of Irish treats both resumptive dependencies and filler-gap dependencies, including difficult mixed patterns. The analysis of Swedish achieves a novel unification of the Swedish resumptive system with those of Irish and Hebrew. Apparently problematic Swedish weak crossover, reconstruction, parasitic gap, and across-the-board extraction data are shown to in fact support the resource management theory. A processing model for production and parsing is proposed that explains certain resumptive-like pronouns in English and Swedish which are not fully grammaticized.

The resource management theory is extended to copy raising in English. Manager resources can license copy raising pronouns, but are in this case specified as part of the lexical entries of the raising verbs involved. This explains why a language like English can have resumption in copy raising, but lack it in unbounded dependencies.