Wh-intervention is caused by movement into regions of focus alternatives computation
Hadas Kotek
July 2019
 

Certain quantificational and focus elements (“interveners”) have long been known to disrupt the interpretation of wh-in-situ (Hoji 1985 and many others), but the correct description of the set of interveners and the nature of intervention effects have been the subject of continued debate. In this paper, I tie the distribution of intervention and the nature of interveners to the interpretation of movement configurations at LF. Building mainly on data from intervention effects in English and Japanese, I show that movement cannot target a region in the structure in which focus alternatives are simultaneously computed. I propose that this restriction on the grammar of scope-taking is the result of a logical problem with Predicate Abstraction computed over non-singleton alternatives. This problem is noted in Rooth’s (1985) seminal work introducing the theory of alternatives, and in later work such as Poesio (1996); Hagstrom (1998); Kratzer and Shimoyama (2002); Shan (2004);Novel and Romero (2009); Charlow (2015, 2017); Beck (2016); Ciardelli, Roelofsen, and Theiler (2017), who all attempt to correct this problem in some way. I argue instead that the data presented in this paper provide an empirical argument for a static, simple-typed system with movement alongside alternative computation as scope-taking mechanisms. Dynamic access to assignments may only be possible at certain intervals — clause or phase edges. The proposal has far-reaching implications for how a wide array of linguistic phenomena should be modeled, including the nature of movement, reconstruction, focus, and intensionality.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004678
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: manuscript
keywords: intervention effects, scope-taking, assignment function, wh-questions, movement, focus alternatives, predicate abstraction, semantics, syntax
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