A new syntax for multiple wh-questions: Evidence from real time sentence processing
Hadas Kotek, Martin Hackl
October 2013

Current theories of interrogative syntax/semantics adopt two strategies for the interpretation of in-situ wh-phrases: covert movement and in-situ interpretation. The covert movement strategy is traditionally assumed to be all-or-nothing: the in-situ wh-phrase covertly moves to C or else stays in-situ and is interpreted in its base-generated position at LF. In this paper we argue that both traditional approaches to wh-in-situ cannot be maintained. We present evidence from real-time processing of English multiple wh-questions that in-situ wh-phrases require both covert movement and in-situ interpretation for their computation: an “in-situ” wh-phrase undergoes a short movement step, parallel to the behavior of traditional quantifiers, immediately upon integration into the structure. Following that step, the wh-phrase can but need not move any further: it can be interpreted in its landing site and make its contribution to interrogative semantics without any further movement. We propose the partial movement approach to wh-in-situ: A wh-phrase must be interpreted at a position with propositional type at LF. For wh-phrases in object position, this position is never the base-generated position and instead some covert movement is always required.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/001945
(please use that when you cite this article, unless you want to cite the full url: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/001945)
Published in: submitted
keywords: multiple wh-questions, covert movement, in-situ wh-phrases, intervention effects, syntax
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