Object drop and article drop in reduced written register
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionLinguistic variation. 2018, 17 (2), 157-185. 10.1075/lv.14016.wei
This paper discusses object drop in English ‘reduced written register’ (RWR), such as recipes ( Haegeman 1987a , b , Massam & Roberge 1989 , Massam 1992 ) and diaries. Object drop differs from subject drop in RWR ( Haegeman 1997 , 2007 , this issue); dropped subjects can be of any person and can be expletives, while dropped objects can be third person only and cannot be expletives. I propose that object drop in RWR is dependent on article drop. I analyze null articles in RWR as the presence of a phonologically null determiner with the semantics of a choice function. To analyze object drop, I adopt Tomioka (2003) ’s analysis for Japanese null pronouns, in which a null determiner, combined with NP ellipsis, allows a constituent with pronominal-like semantics to go wholly unpronounced. I argue that a similar process is at work in English RWR, and argue that this analysis allows us to understand the person and expletive restrictions.