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Optimality and Wh-Extraction Géraldine Legendre,

By Colin Wilson, Kristin Homer and William Raymond


The study wh-question of formation has historically served as the empirical basis for major constructs in Government-Binding (GB) such as the Empty Category Principle (ECP), the existence of Logical Form (LF) as a separate level of representation — motivated in wh-movement part by the atabstract LF analysis wh-in-situ of in languages like Chinese (Huang, 1982)—and the central but controversial issue of which principles apply at which levels of representation. For example, Huang (1982) argues, based on Chinese, that the ECP appliesatS-structureandLFwhilesubjacencyandhisConditiononExtraction Domain (CED) apply only at S-structure. Cross-linguistic investigations have revealed that these ideas are actually hard to formalize in a simple and unified fashion and a brief survey reveals a problematic state of affairs. (1) Standard GB offers no unified treatment wh-fronting—languageswhichobservemovementconstraints of are analyzed as involving movement; languages which do not observe movementconstraints are notanalyzedas involvingmovement(e.gPalauan wh-fronting involves base generation; Georgopoulos 1985, 1991). (2) No unified treatment wh-in-situ of is offered either: languages like Chinese and Japanese whichobserve(atleastsome)movementconstraints have mostrecentlybeen analyzedasinvolvingovertmovementofanulloperatorcoindexedwithan in-situ wh-variable at S-structure (Aoun and Li, 1993, Cole and Hermon (1994)); MalayandAncashQuechua,whichdonotobservemovementconstraints,are not analyzed as involving movement, but rather interpretationinsitu (Cole and Hermon, 1994). Wh-in-situ (3) languages offer contradictory evidence aboutthelevelatwhich the subjacency principle applies: S-structureinChines

Year: 2013
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