Taiwan Journal of Linguistics

A Diamond Open Access Journal (free to authors and readers)
ISSN: 1729-4649 (print); 1994-2559 (online)


John Truscott
Most (and probably all) of the world's languages allow omission of a variety of nominal elements, ranging from solitary nouns to entire noun phrases. This omission occurs in a great many seemingly disparate contexts. The thesis of this article is that for a great assortment of such cases, in a wide variety of languages, a unified explanation can be given in terms of the notion of linking: Nominal omission is possible in the presence of an item that has the function of linking the nominal to an overt element in the sentence. The apparent logic of the linking-omission connection is that the link serves to point out the location of the missing item. The intimate connection between linking and nominal omission is demonstrated in a variety of constructions in a number of languages.