Embedded Alternatives and Alternative Questions
Diti Bhadra
June 2018

This paper investigates interrogative disjunction in Bangla: a language that does not display focus intervention effects in alternative questions, does not allow disjunctive subjects with interrogative disjunction, and cannot neutralize the boolean-interrogative divide within the disjunction space, unlike other attested languages such as Mandarin Chinese. We argue that all of these properties can be given a unified explanation if the following claim can be motivated - the clause-embedding element whether and the interrogative disjunction marker in Bangla are underlyingly the same element. We defend this claim at the syntax-semantics interface, making connections with the cross-linguistic paradigms of alternative questions and disjunction. A robust link between Q operators and disjunction is cross-linguistically attested, and we argue that Bangla is a language that embodies this connection. We investigate and reject an overt operator movement approach, and motivate a disjunction reduction approach with ellipsis in the syntax. In the semantics, aided by a semantic implementation within Alternative Semantics, we argue that the underlying element introduces and partially manipulates focus alternatives consistently across all the configurations.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004055
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted
keywords: disjunction, alternative questions, focus alternatives, bangla, semantics, syntax
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