Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 1247–1271 | Cite as

No N-raising out of NPs in Spanish: ellipsis as a diagnostic of head movement



In this paper, we present a novel test for diagnosing head movement across languages, based on the availability of X-stranding XP-ellipsis. As we argue, X-stranding XP-ellipsis phenomena should exist in languages where XP-ellipsis and X-movement out of XP are both available (as is the case in V-stranding VP-ellipsis in Hebrew or Portuguese, see Goldberg 2005 and references cited there). This has the effect that if a language has XP-ellipsis but lacks X-stranding XP-ellipsis, X-movement out of XP must be lacking in the language. We show the application of this test in the nominal domain, for the particular case of Spanish, one of the languages for which N-raising out of the NP has been proposed in the literature (Bosque and Picallo 1996). Spanish indeed has productive instances of NP-ellipsis, but lacks N-stranding NP-ellipsis. Carefully ruling out other reasons for the lack of N-standing NP-ellipsis, the paper shows that it can only be due to the lack of N-movement out of NP.


Head movement X-stranding XP-ellipsis Nominal phrase Nominal ellipsis Spanish 



We are grateful to three anonymous reviewers and two editors of NLLT for their spot-on remarks on the present material, which allowed us to make our argument stronger. We also thank Jairo Nunes, Mercedes Pujalte, Pablo Zdrojewski for input on the topic discussed here. Finally, we are indebted to the following informants for their help with our search for N-raising NP ellipsis data in various languages: Diane Blakemore, João Costa, Edit Doron, David Embick, Diego Estomba, James Griffiths, William Harwood, Mary Kato, Allison Kirk, Marieke Meelen, Marta Ruda. All remaining errors are our own. The first author’s work was supported by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LUCL/Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Instituto de Filología y Literaturas Hispánicas “Dr. Amado Alonso”, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y TécnicasUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina

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