Lobke Aelbrecht

Contact information

Muinkkaai 42                                                                  

9000 Ghent (Belgium)

(+32) 09 331 32 75


PhD Thesis

You have the right to remain silent: The syntactic licensing of ellipsis. 2009. Catholic University of Brussels. 

Research interests

Since my PhD thesis deals with the licensing conditions on ellipsis,  I dedicated the first four years of my linguistic career to this topic. I have been looking at gapping, sluicing, fragment answers, stripping, VP ellipsis, pseudogapping, British English do and IP ellipsis, among others. Other topics I have dealt with in the past, related or unrelated to the dissertation topic, are modal verbs, Dutch dialects and negative concord.

My present research tries to combine the knowledge on ellipsis with other topics, such as VP topicalization and VP pronominalization. I have also been working on joint projects with Liliane Haegeman (on several topics, among which British English do and VP topicalization) and Uli Sauerland (on ACD contexts).

Since 2011, I have also been exploring the adpositional domain in Dutch, and more specifically preposition doubling in Flemish dialects. This research is conducted together with Marcel den Dikken.

I have not abandoned ellipsis yet, however. Together with Will Harwood I have been looking into VP ellipsis with respect to aspectual auxiliaries, to explore the VP ellipsis site and licensing in more detail. My recently acquired BOF grant allows me to dive back into ellipsis fully, on my own project on why VP ellipsis occurs in certain languages, but not in others. This question I try to tackle by looking at VP ellipsis in several languages and comparing the syntactic properties of these languages to other ones in their language family.



Journal articles

  • Under review. What ellipsis can do for phases, and what it can't, but not why. Special issue of The Linguistic Review.
  • 2015. With Will Harwood. To be or not to (be) elided: VP ellipsis revisited. Lingua.
  • 2014. Wat als een modaal alleen komt? Modale complementsellipsis in het Nederlands vanuit de generatieve hoek. Nederlandse Taalkunde 3.
  • 2014. Ellipsis in negative fragment answers. Anuario del Seminario de Filología Vasca "Julio de Urquijo" 46:1, 1-15.
  • 2013. Flying through Dutch Comparatives. LISSIM Working Papers.
  • 2013. With Marcel den Dikken. Preposition Doubling in Flemish and its Consequences for the Syntax of Dutch PPs. Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 16:1.
  • 2012. With Liliane Haegeman. VP ellipsis is not licensed by VP Topicalization. Linguistic Inquiry 43:4, 591-614.
  • 2011. With Marcel den Dikken. Doubling PPs in Flemish dialects. Linguistics in the Netherlands 29, 1-13.
  • 2011. With Marcel den Dikken. Grammaticalisation in the syntax of Flemish preposition doubling. Proceedings of the 13th Seoul international conference of generative grammar, 101-120.
  • To appear. Ellipsis in negative fragment answers. International Journal of Basque Linguistics and Philology.
  • 2008. Negatieverdubbeling in Vlaamse spreektaal. Over Taal, 47:1, 6-9.
  • 2007.  Niemand nie in Vlaamse spreektaal. TABU 26(3/4), 89-103.
  • 2006. IP-ellipsis in Dutch dialects. Linguistics in the Netherlands 24, 1-13.

Articles in books

  • Under review. Predicate Ellipsis (Including VP-ellipsis and pseudogapping). In Jeroen van Craenenbroeck & Tanja Temmerman (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Ellipsis. Oxford University Press.
  • 2015. Ellipsis. In Tibor Kiss & Artemis Alexiadou (eds), Syntax – Theory and Analysis. An International Handbook. Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science 42.1-3. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • 2012. With Liliane Haegeman & Rachel Nye. Main Clause Phenomena and the Privilege of the Root. In Main Clause Phenomena: New Horizons, ed. by Lobke Aelbrecht, Liliane Haegeman & Rachel Nye. John Benjamins.
  • 2012. Modal Complement Ellipsis: VP ellipsis in Dutch? In Peter Ackema, Rhona Alcorn, Caroline Heycock, Dany Jaspers, Jeroen Van Craenenbroeck & Guido Vanden Wyngaerd (eds), Comparative Germanic Syntac: The State of the Art, 1-34. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • 2011. Agreeing to remain silent: The syntactic licensing of ellipsis. In Patrick Grosz, Irene Heim, Pritty Patel and Igor Yanovich (eds), Proceedings of the Conference of the North East Linguistic Society (NELS40), 1-16. GLSA Publications, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
  • 2010. Modal complement ellipsis: VP ellipsis in Dutch? Linguistics Today: Proceedings of the Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop 23. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • 2008. Dutch modal complement ellipsis. O. Bonami & P. Cabredo Hofherr (eds.), Empirical Issues in Formal Syntax and Semantics : Proceedings of the Colloque de syntaxe et sémantique à Paris 2007, 7-34. URL: http://www.cssp.cnrs.fr/eiss7/.

Edited volumes

  • 2012. With Liliane Haegeman & Rachel Nye. Main Clause Phenomena: New Horizons. John Benjamins.
  • 2009. With Dany Jaspers. Proceedings of the Spring meeting of the Belgian Linguistic Society. http://webh01.ua.ac.be/linguist/SBKL/SBKL.htm

Work in progress

  • Movement or Ellipsis, what's the difference?!. Ms. University of Ghent. 2012.
  • VP topicalization and VP ellipsis. Ms. University of Ghent. 2009.
  • A movement account of Dutch gapping. Ms. Catholic University of Brussels. 2007.


Invited talks and presentations

Conference, workshop and meeting presentations (based on an anonymously reviewed abstract)

Colloquium talk

Other presentations


2013    Algemene Taalwetenschap (General Linguistics, 2nd year BA-students). Together with Klaas Willems and Peter Lauwers. Ghent University.

2012    Comparative linguistics. How to do research in Generative Grammar. Guest lecture for the Intensive Manama course. Together with Karen De Clercq and Amélie

           Rocquet. Ghent University.

2011    Passiefwerking in Generatieve Grammatica (Passivisation in Generative Grammar). Guest lecture for Language Systems (3rd year BA-students). Ghent


2010    The syntax of ellipsis. Eastern European summer school on Generative Grammar (EGG), Romania.

2008 Writing Skills as part of the course English Proficiency (2nd year BA-students). Catholic University Brussels.

2007 Generative Syntax: You have the right to remain silent (3rd year BA-students). Together with Jeroen van Craenenbroeck). Catholic University Brussels.


"The syntax of ellipsis", introduction course on ellipsis at the Eastern European Generative Linguistics Summerschool in Constanta, Romania, Summer 2010.

          Class 1: "If you don't understand my silence, how will you understand my words?" - handout  -  powerpoint presentation 

          Class 2: "Silence best speaks the mind." - handout - powerpoint presentation

          Class 3: "It's a great thing to know the season for speech and the season for silence." - handout - powerpoint presentation

          Class 4: "You have the right to remain silent." - handout - powerpoint presentation

Curriculum Vitae

You find a downloadable version of my cv here.