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Sloppy identity

SYNTAX: an interpretive phenomenon found in deletion contexts. If part of a syntactic structure is not overtly realized, and has its interpretation determined as a copy of the interpretation of a constituent elsewhere in the structure or in the discourse, and if the structure whose interpretation is copied into the covert constituent contains an anaphoric element whose interpretation depends on an element not contained in the copied material, then the anaphor's counterpart in the copy may either have the same reference as the original, or pick up an (anaphoric) reference independently. The former case is called "strict identity", the latter case "sloppy identity". EXAMPLE: Consider (i):

(i)     Johni [VP likes hisi mother ], and Peter too
The missing VP in the right conjunct is interpreted as a copy of the VP in the left conjunct. However, two distinct interpretations may result:
(ii) a  Johni [VP likes hisi mother ], and Peterj too 
        [VP likes hisi mother ]

     b  Johni [VP likes hisi mother ], and Peterj too 
        [VP likes hisj mother ]
The b-interpretation is a case of sloppy identity: the index on his is not identical. Syntactic conditions on sloppy identity have been argued to mirror conditions on bound variable anaphora (Reinhart 1983).
LIT. Partee, B.H. (1978)
Reinhart, T. (1983)
Sag, I. (1976)
Williams, E. (1977)