TP-ellipsis with a polarity particle in multiple-complementizer contexts in Spanish: on topical remnants and focal licensors

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This paper investigates TP-ellipsis with a polarity particle in Spanish, with particular attention to its occurrence in multiple-complementizer clauses (i.e., … que XP que ellipsis licensor ellipsis site). The paper argues for a version of the standard ΣP-account of TP-ellipsis, with the polarity/focal item (e.g., también/tampoco/sí/no) crucially involved in the licensing of ellipsis. It is argued that the XP-que sequence is hosted in TopicP. The XP is a contrastive topic functioning as the remnant of TP-ellipsis and que instantiates recomplementation que –a topic marker. The ellipsis licensor, for its part, sits in a CP-related projection that follows TopicP. In light of the parallelism drawn here between the polarity elements that can partake in the licensing of TP-ellipsis and run-of-the-mill foci, the paper provides a host of arguments from Spanish and related languages underscoring the role of focus in this type of ellipsis operation, which may ultimately lead to the conflation of ΣP and FocusP. Similarly, I explore the relationship established between TopicP (the remnant) and ΣP/FocusP (the ellipsis licensor) in the process of TP-ellipsis as well as offer a principled account of the inability of jussive/optative que to survive ellipsis, unlike recomplementation que. The results of this paper therefore have wide-ranging consequences for the derivation of TP-ellipsis phenomena alongside the delineation of the preverbal field in Spanish and beyond.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-172
Number of pages37
JournalBorealis: An International Journal of Hispanic Linguistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016