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Copular clauses, clefts, and putative sluicing in Uzbek

From: Language
Volume 89, Number 4, December 2013
pp. 830-882 | 10.1353/lan.2013.0074



This article presents novel data from Uzbek, an under-investigated Turkic language, in support of two claims. The first claim is that, despite superficial appearances, Uzbek sluicing-like constructions are not instantiations of genuine sluicing at all. Instead, they are derived from two possible sources—copular clauses and clefts—by reduction strategies that are shown to be independently available in Uzbek (subject drop and copula drop). This result supports a prediction of Merchant’s (2001) theory of sluicing: languages with no left-peripheral wh -movement or focusmovement strategy should not exhibit genuine sluicing. The second claim is that Uzbek cleft structures (which may give rise to the sluicing-like construction under reduction) can be subdivided into two types, corresponding to two prominent lines of analysis in preexisting explorations of clefts (descending from Jespersen 1927 and Jespersen 1937). The results support Pinkham and Hankamer’s (1975) claim that both analyses may be applicable to subtly distinct structures within one language.

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