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Missing verbs in yes/no questions: gapping or right node raising?

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2019
Köse, Engin
The aim of this thesis is to discuss elliptical Yes-No (YN) questions that contain the adversative conjunction -ise in Turkish. Although these questions seem to be instances of backward gapping as the missing element is the verb in such sentences, I show that that they have only YN question reading (but not alternative reading) and argue that they are generated via Across-the-Board (ATB) Movement analysis of Right Node Raising (RNR). I propose that the question particle mI is base-generated as a Focus head which is higher than the conjuncts. Next, the matrix verb, which is shared by the embedded clauses, moves in the ATB fashion to a position higher than the question particle through some form of scrambling. The second aim of this study was to establish what semantic interpretation L2 learners of English assign to sentences containing clausal disjunction and whether this interpretation might be influenced by the interpretation of comparable structures in their native Turkish given that these sentences in English are ambiguous between Yes-No reading and alternative reading while sentences in Turkish lack this ambiguity. Considering that there is a Syntax-Semantics Interface (although it is an internal interface), a problem (a syntactic transfer, more specifically) in the acquisition of this phenomenon was expected to occur for L2 speakers. However, the results suggested that participants were not affected by their native languages and attested even higher scores on alternative reading questions.