A Crosslinguistic Investigation of Wh-Internal Structure: Morphology, Macroparameters, and the Borer-Chomsky Conjecture
Timothy Bazalgette
July 2011

I examine the lexical approach to parametric variation known as the Borer-Chomsky conjecture (Baker 2008), suggesting that c-selectional features (Pesetsky 1982) can be a locus of such variation, and further, following Julien (2002), that c-selectional movement triggers underlie the distinction between agglutinative and fusional morphology. When combined with Neeleman and Szendrői’s (2007) demonstration that radical pro drop (Huang 1984) patterns with agglutination and Biberauer, Holmberg, and Roberts’ (2010) restrictions on the distribution of this movement trigger, this derives a binary parameter linking agglutinative pronominal morphology to radical pro drop via c-selection. After surveying such behaviour in the pronouns of six languages, I consider the wh-domain, proposing that wh-structure is based on that of pronouns. Furthermore, Watanabe’s (1992a,b) proposal of null wh-operator movement in Japanese is adapted to link agglutinative wh-morphology to wh-in situ, leading to a macroparameter connecting three distinct areas of the grammar. I demonstrate wider empirical support for this macroparameter using The World Atlas of Language Structures Online (Dryer and Haspelmath 2011), and finally, based on data from American Sign Language, suggest that modality may force parametric underspecification. Thus it is demonstrated that even under the Borer-Chomsky conjecture, macroparametric proposals can be made.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/001491
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: University of Cambridge
keywords: parameter theory, macroparameters, c-selection, the borer-chomsky conjecture, wh-structure, wh-movement, wh-in-situ, agglutination, fusion, radical pro drop, discourse pro drop, morphology, syntax
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