Start Submission Become a Reviewer

Reading: Q-particles and the nature of Covert movement: Evidence from Buli

Download

A- A+
Alt. Display

Research

Q-particles and the nature of Covert movement: Evidence from Buli

Author:

Abdul-Razak Sulemana

MIT, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, US
X close

Abstract

There are a number of intriguing issues surrounding wh-questions that have drawn considerable attention in the literature. Among the most commonly observed is the fact that in certain languages, wh-phrases move overtly from their base-generated positions to a clause-peripheral position, while in other languages the wh-phrases remain in-situ and are not overtly moved. A well known and contentious issue, to which this paper contributes with novel data from Buli, is the status of the in-situ wh-phrase. For instance, do in-situ phrases undergo covert movement? If so how is this movement similar or different from overt movement? I argue that the language distinguishes two kinds of wh-in-situ phrases: one undergoes covert movement, a movement I claim is comparable in many ways to overt wh-movement, while the other one doesn’t. The key to this observation, I further argue, is the presence of an overt Q-particle in the language. Whenever the Q-particle is absent, the signs of movement disappear. This provides a very transparent set of arguments in favor of the mixed view that sometimes you have movement of wh-in-situ and other other times you don't. 

How to Cite: Sulemana, A.-R. (2019). Q-particles and the nature of Covert movement: Evidence from Buli. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 4(1), 99. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.810
103
Views
36
Downloads
  Published on 23 Aug 2019
 Accepted on 20 May 2019            Submitted on 19 Sep 2018

1 Introduction

Many languages have wh-in-situ. The right analysis of the behavior of the wh-phrases in situ is, however, controversial. Different analyses have been suggested: one possibility is that the wh-in-situ phrase moves covertly (Huang 1982a; b; Nishigauchi 1990; Aoun et al. 1993; Richards 1997; Nissenbaum 2000). Another possibility is that it doesn’t move covertly (Tsai 1994; Watanabe 2001), but some special semantic treatments yield an interpretation similar to when it moved. Sometimes it has been suggested (Pesetsky 2000; Beck 2006; Cable 2007; 2010; Kotek 2014) that both movement and special semantic treatments are available for wh-in-situ. The debate, when focused on languages like English, is muddied by various complications where some but not all wh-phrases show signs of movement including island effects. I am going to argue that wh-in-situ in Bùlì provides a very transparent set of arguments in favor of the mixed view that sometimes you have movement and other other times you do not.

In this paper, I examine wh-questions in Bùlì, a Mabia (Gur) language spoken in Ghana, in which the wh-phrase stays in-situ.1 In the example in (1), the wh-word, bwā ‘what’ stays in-situ and is preceded by the particle in (1a) while in (1b) it is not preceded by . Following earlier analysis of questions (Hagstrom 1998; 2004; Cable 2007; 2010), I will argue that the is an instance of overt Q.

    1. (1)
    1. a.
    1. Bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. *(Ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1. ‘What did the child cook?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. (Ká)
    2.   Q
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. ālì
    2. ALI
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1. ‘Who cooked what?’

I argue that when the wh-in-situ has a Q-morpheme as in (1a), it undergoes covert movement and when it doesn’t have a Q-morpheme as in (1b), there is no movement. Thus Bùlì has two ways of interpreting wh-in-situ phrases. This is reminiscent of wh-in situ in Vietnamese (Bruening & Tran 2006) where it has been argued that wh-in situ phrases can be interpreted either by covert movement or by unselective binding without movement.2 Island and binding effects correlate perfectly with this, thus providing strong arguments for both ways of treating of wh-in-situ. Also, the properties I am attributing to covert movement in the language completely match the properties that overt movement has cross linguistically.

The paper is structured as follows: First, in section 2, I provide some background on basic clause structure and the nature of wh-questions of Bùlì. In section 3, I provide a brief background to the approach I adopt in this paper, and present the diagnostics that show that is Q in the language in the sense of Hagstrom (1998; 2004) and Cable (2007; 2010). In section 4, I present the diagnostics that show that the -phrase undergoes covert movement and exhibits the same properties as overt movement. Finally in section 5, I provide a short conclusion.

2 Background

Bùlì is a strict SVO language:

    1. (2)
    1. a.
    1.   Bíːká
    2.   child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. lāmmú.
    2. meat.DEF
    1.   ‘The child cooked the meat.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Bíːká
    2.   child.DEF
    1. lāmmú
    2. meat.DEF
    1. dìg.
    2. cook
    1.   ‘The child cooked the meat.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. *Lāmmú
    2.   meat.DEF
    1. bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg.
    2. cook
    1.   ‘The child cooked the meat.’

The in-situ strategy for wh-questions is illustrated in (3). Notice three things in particular: first, the question words appear in-situ i.e. in their non-peripheral canonical positions. Second, there is final vowel lengthening to indicate the clause is a question. This final vowel lengthening is also present in yes/no questions in the language. Finally, in single in-situ questions, the particle ka obligatorily precedes the question word or question containing phrase (multiple wh-questions and the distribution of ka will be discussed later on in section 4). I gloss this particle as ‘Q’ for reasons discussed below.

    1. (3)
    1. a.
    1. Bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1. ‘What did the child cook?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. give
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. lāmmúː?
    2. meat.DEF
    1. ‘Who did the child give the meat?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. lāmmú
    2. meat.DEF
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bɛ̄ː?
    2. where
    1. ‘Where did the child cook the meat?’
    1.  
    1. d.
    1. Bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook.DEF
    1. lāmmú
    2. meat.DEF
    1. give
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. wānā:?
    2. who
    1. ‘Who did the child cook the meat for?’

Besides permitting wh in-situ, Bùlì also permits constructions like (4) in which the -phrase is found in clause-initial positions. In clause-initial position, is optional. In these constructions, however, local subject wh-phrases are obligatorily followed by the particle ālì (4a) and non subjects are obligatorily followed by ātì. See (Ferreira & Ko 2003; Hiraiwa 2003; 2005) for more on these morphemes.

    1. (4)
    1. a.
    1. (Ká)
    2.   Q
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. *(ālì)
    2.     ALI
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. lāmmúː?
    2. meat.DEF
    1. ‘Who cooked the meat?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. (Ká)
    2.   Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. *(ātì)
    2.     ATI
    1. bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìgìː?
    2. cook
    1. ‘What is it that the child cooked?’

The scope of an in-situ wh-phrase is not clause bound, as (5) shows.

    1. (5)
    1. a.
    1. 2SG
    1. wèːnì
    2. say
    1. āyīn
    2. C
    1. bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1. ‘What did you say the child cooked?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. 2SG
    1. páː-chīm
    2. think
    1. 1SG
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1. ‘What do you think I cooked?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. 2SG
    1. páː-chīm
    2. think
    1. 1SG
    1. give
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. lāmmúː?
    2. meat.DEF
    1. ‘Who do you think I gave the meat?’

In embedded questions, the wh-phrase remains in-situ (6). The complementizer āsī is used in embedded questions. Note that this is different from the complementizer āyīn, used in declarative sentences as in (5) above.

    1. (6)
    1. a.
    1. Mary
    2. Mary
    1. bèg
    2. ask
    1. āsī
    2. C
    1. John
    2. John
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwāː.
    2. what
    1. ‘Mary asked what John has cooked.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Mary
    2. Mary
    1. à-bā
    2. IMPF-wonder
    1. āsī
    2. C
    1. John
    2. John
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwāː.
    2. what
    1. ‘Mary wonders what John has cooked.’

In the following sections, I will examine these patterns in more detail. To lay the foundation for the main point of the paper, I will argue in the following sections that is the Bùlì counterpart of the Q-morpheme identified in languages such as Sinhala and Japanese (Hagstrom 1998; 2004; Kishimoto 2005), and Tlingit (Cable 2007; 2010). I will show that the in-situ wh-phrase headed by undergoes covert movement which, I argue, is comparable in many ways to overt movement.

3 Wh-in-situ in the context of the Q-theory of questions

Cable (2007; 2010) argued that wh-phrases are embedded inside a functional layer which, following previous authors (Hagstrom 1998; Kishimoto 2005), he referred to as Q(uestion)-particle.3 Cable argued that Q, rather than wh, is the actual target of so-called wh-movement. This particle has gone unnoticed in many languages because it is phonologically covert. He argues that the fronting of wh-phrases in “wh-fronting” languages is not due to a property of the wh-word itself, as has been traditionally assumed, but rather due to the Q-particle. When this Q-particle, which heads its own projection (QP), is fronted, it has the secondary effect of fronting the wh-word. Couched in the framework of “probes” and “goals” as developed within the Minimalist Program (Chomsky 1995), the interrogative C head bears an uninterpretable instance of the interpretable Q-feature borne by Q. The interrogative C finds and Agrees with the interpretable Q, valuing its uninterpretable Q-feature. This Agreement relation then triggers movement of the goal, the QP, into the projection of C. Because the QP necessarily contains the wh-word, it follows that movement of the QP into the projection of C implies movement of the wh-word into the projection of C. Let us see how this proposal works for Tlingit below. In this language, the wh-word is always sentence initial and is always followed by the Q-particle , which either directly follows the wh-word or wh-containnig phrase.

    1. (7)
    1. Tlinglit (Cable 2010)
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. Daa
    2. what
    1. Q
    1. i
    2. your
    1. éesh
    2. father
    1. al’óon?
    2. he.hunts.it
    1. ‘What is your father hunting?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. [IP [DP i eesh] [VP [QP [DP daa ] sa ] al oon ]] base structure
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. [[QP [DP daa ] sa ]i C [IP [DP i eesh] [VP ti al oon]]] QP-fronting as wh-movement

The derivation for (7a) is given in (7b)–(7c), where (7b) is the base structure from which the final structure, (7c), is derived. As shown in (7b) above, the Q-particle heads its own projection, labeled “QP” and takes the wh-word as its complement. The interrogative C head bears an uninterpretable instance of the interpretable Q-feature borne by . The interrogative C probes for an interpretable instance of this Q-feature on . It agrees with the particle, then triggers movement of the goal, the QP headed by , into the projection of C. Because the wh-word is contained within the QP, its movement into the CP necessarily implies the movement of the wh-word. In addition to the syntax, the Q-particle has certain distributional properties including: it attaches to nominals, cannot occur inside islands and may not separate a DP from a functional head that selects it. This analysis of the Tlingit Q-particle will serve as a model for our analysis of in Bùlì.

3.1 Wh-in-situ in Bùlì and the theory of Q

In this section, the distribution and properties of Bùlì are compared with the Q-particles of other languages including in Tlingit (Cable 2007; 2010), da in Sinhala, and ka in Japanese (Hagstrom 2004; Kishimoto 2005) leading to the conclusion that is Q in Bùlì. As will be illustrated below, only attaches to nominals, and may not separate a DP from a functional head that selects it. The relevance of this particle to the discussion in this paper is seen in section 4 where I argue that the headed phrase undergoes covert movement.

Before considering the distribution of , a quick note on the claim that it attaches to nominals. This immediately raises a question of what the categories of wh-phrases are in the language, especially “where”, “why”, and “when”. Their composition suggests they are all nominals. As shown in (8), there are nominals corresponding to “direction”, “body”, and “day” in the meaning equivalent of bɛ̄-gēŋ ‘where’, bwān-ɲíŋ ‘why’ and dā-dīnā ‘when’ respectively.4 As will be shown later in the discussion, nominal constructions like “relative” clauses, and “because” clauses permit to appear at their edge while non-nominal clauses including “if-clauses” and “without” clauses do not.

Returning to the distribution of , like Q in Tlingit and Sinhala, it is obligatory in a wh-question, as seen in (8).

    1. (8)
    1. a.
    1. Bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1. ‘What did the child cook?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. lāmmú
    2. meat.DEF
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bɛ̄-gēŋa?
    2. what-direction
    1. ‘Where did the child cook the meat?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. lāmmú
    2. meat.DEF
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwān-ɲíŋa?
    2. what-body
    1. ‘Why did the child cook the meat?’
    1.  
    1. d.
    1. Bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. lāmmú
    2. meat.DEF
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. dā-dīnā:?
    2. day-which
    1. ‘When did the child cook the meat?’

Secondly, the particle must c-command a wh-phrase. It can be directly prefixed to the wh-word, as the above examples show, or it can be attached to a larger wh-containing phrase, as the (a) examples in (9)–(11) show. If the Q doesn’t precede the wh-phrase, the constructions are ill-formed.

    1. (9)
    1. a.
    1.   Azuma
    2.   Azuma
    1. buy
    1. Q
    1. gbáŋ
    2. book
    1. ālì
    2. CONJ
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘Azuma bought a book and what?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Azuma
    2.   Azuma
    1. buy
    1. gbáŋ
    2. book
    1. ālì
    2. CONJ
    1. bw ā
    2. what
    1. ?
    2. Q
    1.   ‘Azuma bought a book and what?’
    1. (10)
    1. a.
    1.   Asouk
    2.   Asouk
    1. buy
    1. Q
    1. wān
    2. who
    1. gbáŋaː?
    2. book
    1.   ‘Whose book did Asouk buy?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Asouk
    2.   Asouk
    1. buy
    1. wān
    2. who
    1. Q
    1. gbáŋaː?
    2. book
    1.   ‘Whose book did Asouk buy?’
    1. (11)
    1. a.
    1.   Asouk
    2.   Asouk
    1. buy
    1. Q
    1. Azuma
    2. Azuma
    1. bw āː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘What belonging to Azuma did Asouk buy?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Asouk
    2.   Asouk
    1. buy
    1. Azuma
    2. Azuma
    1. bw āː
    2. what
    1. ?
    2. Q
    1.   ‘What belonging to Azuma did Asouk buy?’

One important property of Q-particles observed in many languages is that, although a wh-phrase is allowed inside a complex-DP, the Q-particle must appear at the edge of the island (Hagstrom 1998; Kishimoto 2005; Cable 2007; 2010). This same property can be observed for Bùlì. cannot appear inside but must appear at the edge of the complex DP.

    1. (12)
    1. a.
    1. *Fí
    2.   2SG
    1. á-yáalí
    2. IMPF-love
    1. [núrpók
    2. woman
    1. wāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. ālì
    2. C
    1. buy
    1. Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. lá:?]
    2. PRT
    1.   ‘You love the woman who bought what?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Fí
    2.   2SG
    1. á-yáalí
    2. IMPF-love
    1. [núrpók
    2. woman
    1. [
    2. Q
    1. [wāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. ālì
    2. INFL
    1. buy
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. lá:?]]]
    2. PRT
    1.   ‘You love the woman who bought what?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1.   Fí
    2.   2SG
    1. á-yáalí
    2. IMPF-love
    1. Q
    1. [núrpók
    2. woman
    1. [wāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. ālì
    2. C
    1. buy
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. lá:?]
    2. PRT
    1.   ‘You love the woman who bought what?

I argue, based on the distributional similarities of to the Q-particles da in Sinhala, ka in Japanese and in Tlingit, that is Q in Bùlì, and, as such, it should be given an analysis parallel to the Q-particles in these languages.

Despite these similarities, there are some points of divergence among the languages in terms of distribution and function of their Q-particles. The Q in Bùlì only attaches to nominals, and, unlike its counterpart in Tlingit, it does not also appear on wh-words to mark indefinites. It can also be used in declarative sentences to mark focus. The selectional requirement of Q thus independently rules out (12b), where Q is attached to the relative clause, and explains why the Q-particle cannot appear at the left-edge of the matrix clause, as in (13b), or subordinate clause, as in (13c)–(13d), unlike in Tlingit where Q can mark subordinate clauses.

    1. (13)
    1. a.
    1.   Bíːká
    2.   child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘What did the child cook?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Ká
    2.   Q
    1. [bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. bwāː]?
    2. what
    1.   ‘What did the child cook?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. *Fì
    2.   2SG
    1. wèːnì
    2. say
    1. āyīn
    2. C
    1. Q
    1. bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘What did you say the child cooked?’
    1.  
    1. d.
    1. *Fì
    2.   2SG
    1. wèːnì
    2. say
    1. Q
    1. āyīn
    2. C
    1. bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘What did you say the child cooked?’

Another point of divergence is that, in Bùlì, there can be at most one instance of per question, even in multiple wh-questions, (14), (again unlike Tlingit, which can have multiple Q-particles in multiple wh-questions).

    1. (14)
    1. a.
    1.   John
    2.   John
    1. give
    1. bí:ká
    2. child.DEF
    1. lām.
    2. meat
    1.   ‘John gave the child meat’.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   John
    2.   John
    1. give
    1. Q
    1. wān
    2. who
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘Who did John give what?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. *John
    2.   John
    1. give
    1. Q
    1. wān
    2. who
    1. Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘Who did John give what?’

Cable (2007; 2010) draws a distinction between Q-projection languages (15) and Q-adjoining languages (16). Only in a Q-projection language will movement triggered by a Q probe yield phrasal movement of the type usually called wh-movement.

The Q-particle is barred from appearing in certain environments in Q-projection languages: (i) between a wh-possessor and the possessed NP, (ii) between a wh-determiner and its NP complement or (iii) between a pre or postposition and its complement. To the extent that these constructions are replicable in Bùlì, we should observe similar restrictions on the distribution of if the language is a Q-projecting language. As will be shown below, similar restrictions are observed for the distribution of .

    1. (15)
    1. (16)

In possessive constructions, cannot appear between a possessor NP and a possessed wh-phrase (17).

    1. (17)
    1. a.
    1.   Asouk
    2.   Asouk
    1. buy
    1. Q
    1. Azuma
    2. Azuma
    1. bw āː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘What belonging to Azuma did Asouk buy?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Asouk
    2.   Asouk
    1. buy
    1. Azuma
    2. Azuma
    1. Q
    1. bw āː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘What belonging to Azuma did Asouk buy?’

It cannot appear between a wh-determiner and its NP complement (18).

    1. (18)
    1. a.
    1.   Bíːká
    2.   child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. Q
    1. lām
    2. meat
    1. būna:?
    2. which
    1.   ‘Which meat did the child cook?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Bíːká
    2.   child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. lām
    2. meat
    1. Q
    1. būna:?
    2. which
    1.   ‘Which meat did the child cook?’

It cannot also appear between a preposition and its complement (19b), nor can it precede the preposition (19c). Example (19c) contrasts with the distribution of Q in Tlingit, which allows Q to take a preposition as its complement.

    1. (19)
    1. a.
    1.   Fì
    2.   2SG
    1. chèŋ
    2. go
    1. alī
    2. P
    1. bí:ká.
    2. child.DEF
    1.   ‘You went with the child.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Fì
    2.   2SG
    1. chèŋ
    2. go
    1. alī
    2. P
    1. Q
    1. wānāː?
    2. who
    1.   ‘Who did you go with?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. *Fì
    2.   2SG
    1. chèŋ
    2. go
    1. Q
    1. alī
    2. P
    1. wānāː?
    2. who
    1.   ‘Who did you go with?’

The data from (17)–(19) show that is restricted from appearing in the structural positions that the Q in Q-projecting languages are also banned from occurring. This is thus evidence that the language is a Q-projection language.

As the discussion shows, must precede the wh-phrase, it cannot occur inside an island, and it may not separate a DP from a functional head that selects it. We also saw that heads its own projection i.e it can either directly take a wh-phrase or a wh-containing phrase as its complement (Q-projection language). Since has the same range of restrictions as Q, I conclude that is Q. This serves as the background for next section where I argue that diagnoses covert movement.

4 Covert vs. overt movement

Do in-situ phrases undergo covert wh-movement? If so, how is this movement different from overt wh-movement? I argue that there are two kinds of wh-in situ in the language: the first kind undergoes covert movement while the second kind does not. Covert movement occurs in situations where the in-situ phrase is preceded by the the question particle ; the wh-in situ does not undergo movement when the Q-particle is missing. The evidence for the split comes from islands, scope, binding theory and the absence of intervention effects. For instances where movement is observed, I argue that there are no differences between covert and overt phrasal wh-movement.

4.1 Covert movement of the ká-phrase

In this section, we look at the wh-in situ immediately preceded by which I argue undergoes covert movement. Does this phrase show the properties that are diagnostics of movement? I present evidence from islands, binding theory, the absence of intervention effects, and, arguably, scope that answers this question in the affirmative. I show that this covert movement is comparable in many ways to the overt movement of languages like English.

Studies over the years have converged on several properties for diagnosing whether a syntactic operation involves movement. A stable diagnostic for movement is island-sensitivity. If the ká-phrase involves any kind of movement, then we expect the ká-phrase to show island sensitivity. This expectation is borne out, as shown earlier in (12), repeated as (20), and (21). Although wh-phrases are allowed inside an island, attaching the particle ká to the wh-phrase inside the island renders the construction ungrammatical (20a). It must appear at the edge of the island (20b).

    1. (20)
    1. Complex DP island-relative clause
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. *Fí
    2.   2SG
    1. á-yáalí
    2. IMPF-love
    1. [núrpók
    2. woman
    1. wāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. ālì
    2. C
    1. buy
    1. Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. lá:?]
    2. PRT
    1.   ‘You love the woman who bought what?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   Fí
    2.   2SG
    1. á-yáalí
    2. IMPF-love
    1. Q
    1. [núrpók
    2. woman
    1. wāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. ālì
    2. C
    1. buy
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. lá:?]
    2. PRT
    1.   ‘You love the woman who bought what?

When a wh-phrase is coordinated with another element, must precede the entire conjunction phrase, (21b). Placing it immediately before the wh-phrase in the second conjunct, (21a), results in ungrammaticality. This is consistent with earlier studies which show that covert movement obeys the CSC (Ruys 1992).

    1. (21)
    1. Coordinate structure Constraint
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. *Azuma
    2.   Azuma
    1. buy
    1. [gbáŋ
    2. book
    1. ālī
    2. CONJ
    1. Q
    1. bwāː?]
    2. what
    1.   ‘Azuma bought a book and what?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   Azuma
    2.   Azuma
    1. buy
    1. Q
    1. [gbáŋ
    2. book
    1. ālī
    2. CONJ
    1. bwāː?]
    2. what
    1.   ‘Azumah bought a book and what?’

An adjunct “because” clause behaves like a nominal: the because has the final particle la: a determiner-like particle found with relative clauses and ɲīŋ ‘body’ which is the same form we find with the wh-word “why” in the language. All these factors suggest that it is nominal. As a result cannot appear inside, (22b), but may appear at its edge, (22c).

    1. (22)
    1. Because-clause
    1.  
    1. a.
    1.   Bíːká
    2.   child.DEF
    1. à
    2. IMPF
    1. laugh
    1. [John
    2. John
    1. ali
    2. ALI
    1. buy
    1. gbáŋká
    2. book.DEF
    1. la
    2. PRT
    1. ɲīŋ.]
    2. body
    1.   ‘The child is laughing because John bought the book’.
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Bíːká
    2.   child.DEF
    1. à
    2. IMPF
    1. laugh
    1. [John
    2. John
    1. ali
    2. ALI
    1. buy
    1. Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. la
    2. PRT
    1. ɲīŋ]
    2. body
    1. a?
    2.  
    1.   ‘The child is laughing because John bought what?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1.   Bíːká
    2.   child.DEF
    1. à
    2. IMPF
    1. laugh
    1. Q
    1. [John
    2. John
    1. ali
    2. ALI
    1. buy
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. la
    2. PRT
    1. ɲīŋ]
    2. body
    1. a?
    2.  
    1.   ‘The child is laughing because John bought what?’

Also, cannot appear inside an “If-clause”, (23), or “Without-clause”, (24). It cannot appear at the edge of these clauses because of the subcategorization restriction that it appears with nominals.

    1. (23)
    1. If-clause
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. *Asouk
    2.   Asouk
    1. FUT
    1. dígí
    2. cook
    1. lām
    2. meat
    1. ās
    2. if
    1. Apita
    2. Peter
    1. dīn
    2. PRT
    1. wéːní
    2. say
    1. āyīn
    2. C
    1. Azuma
    2. Azuma
    1. bought
    1. Q
    1. bwā?
    2. what
    1.   ‘What is it that Asouk will cook meat if Peter says Azuma bought?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Asouk
    2.   Asouk
    1. FUT
    1. dígí
    2. cook
    1. lām
    2. meat
    1. Q
    1. āsī
    2. if
    1. Apita
    2. Peter
    1. dīn
    2. PRT
    1. wéːní
    2. say
    1. āyīn
    2. C
    1. Azuma
    2. Azuma
    1. bought
    1. bwā?
    2. what
    1.   ‘What is it that Asouk will cook meat if Peter says Azuma bought?’
    1. (24)
    1. Without-clause
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. *Azuma
    2.   Azumah
    1. gwà
    2. sleep
    1. ālī-ān
    2. without
    1. buy
    1. Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘What did Azuma sleep without buying?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Azuma
    2.   Azumah
    1. gwà
    2. sleep
    1. Q
    1. ālī-ān
    2. without
    1. buy
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘What did Azuma sleep without buying?’

Assuming that complex DP phrases, coordinate structures, conditionals and adjunct clauses are islands for movement, these observations support the claim that there is covert movement involved in these constructions.

A second piece of evidence for covert movement comes from Binding Theory. Nissenbaum (2000) shows that covert wh-movement feeds condition A of the binding theory. Consider the data in (25) from Nissenbaum (2000). The covert phrasal movement of the in-situ wh-phrase in (25a) licenses the anaphor. In contrast, since there is no such movement in (25b), the anaphor is not licensed resulting in the ungrammaticality of the sentence.

(25) English (Nissenbaum 2000: 126)
  a.   Whoi thinks Mary was looking at which picture of himselfi?
  b. *Whoi thinks Mary was looking at a picture of himselfi.

In-situ wh-phrases in Bùlì can feed condition A of the binding theory. Consider the examples in (26). The anaphor needs an antecedent within the same clause in order to be licensed, (26a)–(26b). When the antecedent fails to c-command the anaphor, the result is ungrammatical, (26c).

    1. (26)
    1. a.
    1.   Amaryi
    2.   Mary
    1. à-yā:
    2. IMPF-like
    1. wà-dēki/*j
    2. 3SG-self
    1.   ‘Mary likes herself’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Amaryi
    2.   Mary
    1. wè:ni
    2. say
    1. āyīn
    2. C
    1. 1SG
    1. à-yā:
    2. IMPF-like
    1. wà-dēki
    2. 3SG-self
    1.   ‘Mary said that I like herself’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. *Amaryi
    2.   Mary
    1. doama
    2. friends
    1. à-yā:
    2. IMPF-like
    1. wà-dēki
    2. 3SG-self
    1.   ‘Mary’s friends like herself’

The examples in (27) replicates the English paradigm from Nissenbaum given in (25), though the judgments in Bùlì are perhaps stronger. The ungrammaticality of (27b) is expected because the antecedent of the anaphor is found in the matrix clause while the anaphor is in the embedded clause. The grammaticality of (27a) is surprising since the antecedent and the anaphor are in different clauses. The contrast between (27a) and (27b) is expected if covert movement is involved—and importantly successive cyclicity in (27a). The covert movement of the -phrase into the matrix verb will license the anaphor. The example in (27b) is ruled out because there is no such movement. It will later be shown that we lose the Nissenbaum effects in instances where the in-situ wh-phrase does not move covertly.

    1. (27)
    1. a.
    1.   Amaryi
    2.   Mary
    1. wè:ni
    2. say
    1. āyīn
    2. C
    1. 1SG
    1. à-yā:
    2. IMPF-like
    1. Q
    1. wà-dēki
    2. 3SG-self
    1. foto
    2. picture
    1. kuna:?
    2. which
    1. ‘Mary said that I like which picture of herself?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Amaryi
    2.   Mary
    1. wè:ni
    2. say
    1. āyīn
    2. C
    1. 1SG
    1. à-yā:
    2. IMPF-like
    1. wà-dēki
    2. 3SG-self
    1. foto
    2. picture
    1. wa-dɛ.
    2. DET-DEM
    1.   ‘Mary said that I like this picture of herself’

4.1.1 Evidence from intervention effects

Another piece of evidence for the covert movement of the -phrase comes from intervention effects. The absence of intervention effects can also diagnose covert movement of the -phrase. It has been argued that languages make use of two methods of interpreting wh-in-situ phrases: covert movement (Chomsky 1976; Huang 1982b; Pesetsky 1987; Aoun et al. 1993; Pesetsky 2000) and a non-movement strategy such as Focus-Alternatives computation (Hamblin 1973; Rooth 1985; 1992; Beck 2006; Cable 2007; 2010; Kotek 2014). Beck (2006) observes that the Focus-Alternative strategy of interpreting a wh-in-situ phrase is subject to intervention effects. If a focus operator like only occurs between an in-situ wh-phrase and the C that interprets it at LF, it will cause the derivation to crash (28a). This is because the focus operator makes use of both the ordinary and focus semantic value of its sister. Since the wh-phrase lacks an ordinary value, the structure is uninterpretable, and hence ungrammatical. Pesetsky (2000) explains these facts by linking the presence of intervention effects to the absence of covert movement. Covert movement is immune from intervention because the wh-phrase will move covertly above the intervener (28b) at LF, and thus will be able to obviate intervention effects.

(28) Structure of intervention
  a. Focus-Alternatives computations: *[C…intervener […wh…]]
  b. Covert movement: [C…intervener […wh…]]

Consider an instantiation of this schema from English. Pesetsky (2000) observes in English multiple wh-constructions that Superiority obeying questions are not subject to intervention while Superiority violating questions are subject to intervention. Superiority-obeying and superiority-violating constructions are shown in (29) and (30) respectively.

(29) a.   Who bought what?
  b. *What did who buy?

(30) a. Which person bought which book?
  b. Which book did which person buy?

He argues that superiority obeying in-situ wh-phrases in English undergo LF wh-movement while in superiority violating structures, the in-situ phrase is interpreted via feature movement. In effect these constructions have different LF representations as shown in (31). In (31a) all the wh-phrases move to the spec C at LF. On the contrary, in (31b) only wh2‘which person’ moves to the spec of C at LF. Wh1 remains in-situ and is computed via feature movement.

(31) a. [who1 what2 [ C [TP t1 buy t2 ] ] ] LF: Superiority-Obeying
  b. [which book 2 [ C [TP which person1 buy t2 ] ] ] LF: Superiority-Violating

Pesetsky (2000) proposes that when an in-situ wh-phrase such as wh1 in (31b) does not undergo covert movement, it is interpreted via Focus-Alternative computations and that it is this strategy that is subject to intervention. Thus, in the superiority obeying constructions, (32) and (33a), all the wh-phrases move covertly. As a result, adding an intervener will not affect the interpretability of the sentences. On the other hand, because which girl remains in-situ in (33b) and is interpreted via focus alternative computation, adding an intervener above it will result in an uninterpretable structure, and hence the ungrammaticality of the sentence.

(32) a. Who did only John introduce to whom?
  b. Which children didn’t buy which book?

(33) a.   Which girl did only Mary introduce to which boy?
  b. *Which boy did only Mary introduce which girl to?

Movement, whether overt or covert, which takes the wh-phrase outside the c-command domain of an intervener solves the problem of intervention. As shown in (32) and (33) for English, covert movement of the phrase prevents intervention. In many other languages including Korean, overt movement obviates intervention. Consider the following examples from Korean. The sentence in (34a) is ungrammatical because the intervener only c-commands the wh-phrase. Contrast this sentence with (34b) where the intervener is absent and (34c) where the wh-phrase moved past the intervener.

    1. (34)
    1. Korean (Beck 2006: 3)
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. *Minsu-man
    2.   Minsu-only
    1. nuku-lû-l
    2. who-ACC
    1. po-ss-ni?
    2. see-Past-Q
    1.   ‘Who did only Minsu see?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   Minsu-mun
    2.   Minsu-Top
    1. nuku-lû-l
    2. who-ACC
    1. po-ss-ni?
    2. see-Past-Q
    1.   ‘Who did Minsu see?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1.   Nuku-lû-l
    2.   who-ACC
    1. Minsu-man
    2. Minsu-only
    1. po-ss-ni?
    2. see-Past-Q
    1.   ‘Who did only Minsu see?’

Adopting the insights of these accounts, we can diagnose covert phrasal movement in Bùlì: if the -phrase can appear below these interveners without resulting in ungrammaticality, then we conclude that covert phrasal movement has taken place. If, on the other hand, the relation between the -phrase and C is interrupted, then we diagnose Focus-Alternative computation for the wh-in-situ.

4.1.2 Detecting intervention

The presence of and covert-phrasal movement of the -phrase make a prediction concerning intervention effects: placing an intervener between the wh-word and the Q-particle ká should trigger intervention. We can test this prediction with a Complex DP island where it is possible to fit interveners between and the wh-phrase. While it is possible to have an intervener above the island, (35a), it is not possible to have an intervener within the island, (35b–35d).

    1. (35)
    1. a.
    1.   Fí
    2.   2SG
    1. kàn
    2. NEG
    1. yáalí
    2. love
    1. Q
    1. [núrpók
    2. woman
    1. wāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. ālì
    2. C
    1. buy
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. lá:?]
    2. PRT
    1.   ‘You don’t love the woman who bought what?
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Fí
    2.   2SG
    1. á-yáalí
    2. IMPF-love
    1. Q
    1. núrpók
    2. woman
    1. wāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. mɛ̄
    2. also
    1. ālì
    2. C
    1. buy
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. lá:?
    2. PRT
    1.   intended: ‘You love the woman who also buy what?
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. *Fí
    2.   2SG
    1. á-yáalí
    2. IMPF-love
    1. Q
    1. núrpók
    2. woman
    1. wāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. ālì
    2. C
    1. kàn
    2. NEG
    1. buy
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. lá:?
    2. PRT
    1.   intended: ‘You love the woman who didn’t buy what?
    1.  
    1. d.
    1. *Fí
    2.   2SG
    1. á-yáalí
    2. IMPF-love
    1. Q
    1. [núrpók
    2. woman
    1. wāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. ɲī:ŋī
    2. only
    1. ālì
    2. C
    1. buy
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. lá:?]
    2. PRT
    1.   intended: ‘You love only the woman who bought what?
    1.  
    1. e.
    1.   
    2.   Q
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. ālì
    2. INFL
    1. dàg
    2. point
    1. [núr
    2. [man
    1. wāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. ālì
    2. INFL
    1. kàn
    2. NEG
    1. buy
    1. gbánká
    2. book
    1. lá:?]
    2. PRT]
    1. sàg
    2. show
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1.   ‘Who showed the man who didn’t buy the book to who?’

The acceptability of (35a) makes two relevant points: first the relation between and the wh-word is not interrupted because the intervener kàn is above both the particle and the wh-phrase; second, the -phrase, in this instance and its complement (the island) will covertly move across the intervener, thus obviating intervention effects. The ungrammaticality of (35c)–(35d) is predicted because the relation between the wh-phrase and its licenser is interrupted by an intervener. An intervener within an island where it does not c-command the in-situ wh-phrase is grammatical, (35e), however.

In-situ wh-phrases immediately preceded by are not subject to intervention effects: wh-phrases are permitted under the c-command domain of focus-related elements like only, also and negation as shown in (36). Overt movement over these elements is fine as expected, (37).

    1. (36)
    1. a.
    1. John
    2. John
    1. mɛ̄
    2. also
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1. ‘What did John also cook?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. John
    2. John
    1. àn
    2. NEG
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. who
    1. ‘What did John not cook?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. John
    2. John
    1. ɲī:ŋī
    2. only
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1. ‘What did only John cook?’
    1. (37)
    1. a.
    1. (Ká)
    2.   Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. ātì
    2. C
    1. John
    2. John
    1. mɛ̄
    2. also
    1. dìgìː?
    2. cook
    1. ‘What did John also cook?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. (Ká)
    2.   Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. ātì
    2. C
    1. John
    2. John
    1. àn
    2. NEG
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. ya?
    2. PRT
    1. ‘What did John not cook?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. (Ká)
    2.   Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. ātì
    2. C
    1. John
    2. John
    1. ɲī:ŋī
    2. only
    1. dìgìː?
    2. cook
    1. ‘What did only John cook?’

We conclude from (36) that the -phrase has covertly moved above the intervener, thus obviating intervention effects. To illustrate, a construction like (36a) will have as an LF (38). Crucially, the wh-phrase is above the intervener, thus obviating intervention.

(38) [CP [ká bwā]1 [C [TP John mɛ̄ dìg t1 ] ] ] LF: showing covert movement

Finally, the reader may be wondering whether wh-in situ in these constructions has wide scope with respect to other elements. Example (39) shows that this in indeed possible if scope is determined by movement. In the sentence below, the in-situ wh-phrase can take wide scope over the quantifier. Although several accounts of wide scope (such as those involving focus alternative computation) derive these scope properties without movement, a combination of factors including island sensitivity and the absence of intervention effects for the -phrase strongly suggests movement. The wide scope reading of the wh-phrase is possible if the wh-phrase moves above the universal quantifier (Aoun & Li 1993). Since there is no indication of overt movement in (39), we can reason this has taken place covertly.

    1. (39)
    1. Wāi-mē:nā
    2. person-all
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. *(ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1. ‘What did every one cook?’
    2. ‘For each person y, what is the x st y cooked x.’
    3. ‘What is the x st everyone cooked x.’

As demonstrated, the headed phrase, though in-situ, behaves like overtly moved phrases in being sensitive to the same islands and in being able to obviate intervention effects, among others. The conclusion drawn from this is that the headed phrase undergoes covert movement, which is comparable to the overt movement we observe for overt movement languages like English and Bùlì, as we will see below in section 4.3.

4.2 Ká-less phrases do not move

In the preceding section, we looked at the first kind of wh-in-situ phrase, the one preceded by , and I argued that the -phrase undergoes covert movement. In this section, we take a look at the second kind of wh-in-situ, the one without . At this point, there are two possibilities that might, in theory, be attested with the -less in situ phrase: either (a) they pattern like in situ wh-phrases with and show signs of undergoing covert movement, or (b) they do not show such signs, and therefore could be concluded not to undergo covert movement. The evidence leads to the conclusion that (b) is correct.

-less wh-phrases occur in multiple questions. In multiple wh-questions, appears to the left of the highest wh-containing phrase, (40).

    1. (40)
    1. a.
    1. Ajohn
    2. John
    1. give
    1. Q
    1. wān
    2. who
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1. ‘Who did John give what?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. ()
    2.   Q
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. ālì
    2. ALI
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1. ‘Who cooked what’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. ()
    2.   Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. ātì
    2. C
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. dìgìː?
    2. cook
    1. ‘What is it that who cook?’

Having multiple , (41a), or placing it on the lowest wh-phrase, (41b), results in ungrammaticality. An open question for the current account is why there is one which appears on the highest wh-phrase.5

    1. (41)
    1. a.
    1. *Ajohn
    2.   John
    1. give
    1. Q
    1. wān
    2. who
    1. Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘Who did John give what?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Ajohn
    2.   John
    1. give
    1. wān
    2. who
    1. Q
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘Who did John give what?’

An initial point that suggests that a -less in situ wh-phrase doesn’t undergo covert movement is that it can occur inside an island, (42). As has been noted above, the in-situ phrase with is island sensitive since movement out of islands is generally barred. The fact that the -less phrase is allowed inside an island could be taken as evidence that it doesn’t undergo covert movement.

    1. (42)
    1. Complex DP island-relative clause
    1. (Ká)
    2.   Q
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. ālì
    2. ALI
    1. à-yāalī
    2. IMPF-love
    1. gbáŋ
    2. book
    1. kāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. ālì
    2. C
    1. buy
    1. lá:?
    2. PRT
    1. Literally: ‘Who loves the book that who bought?’

Another suggestive piece of evidence tha -less phrase does not undergo movement comes from binding theory. Relying on a previous observation that covert movement can feed condition A of the binding theory, we noted that the in-situ phrase with , can feed condition A of the binding theory. A related question is: can the wh-phrase without feed condition A of the binding theory? It should be able to feed the binding theory if it involves movement just like its counterpart with .

Multiple questions are possible in embedded clauses, (43). In (43b), there is only one wh-phrase ká wà-dēki foto kuna ‘which picture of herself’ in the embedded clause. Because this wh-phrase is preceded by the Q-particle , it moves covertly into the matrix clause, thereby licensing the anaphor. Example (43c), on the other hand, involves a multiple question. In this construction, the Q-particle is on the wh-phrase ká núr bānā ‘which people’, and it is that phrase which moves covertly. The anaphor in the second wh-containing phrase is not licensed in this context. We can explain this by arguing that the inability of an antecedent in a matrix clause to license an anaphor in an embedded wh-phrase without is because it does not involve movement, hence the ungrammaticality of the sentence.

    1. (43)
    1. a.
    1.   Amaryi
    2.   Mary
    1. pā-chīm
    2. think
    1. bísāŋá
    2. child.DEF.PL
    1. give
    1. Q
    1. wān
    2. who
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘Who does Mary think the children gave what?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   Amaryi
    2.   Mary
    1. pā-chīm
    2. think
    1. bísāŋá
    2. child.DEF.PL
    1. give
    1. núrmà
    2. man.DEF.PL
    1. Q
    1. wà-dēki
    2. 3SG-self
    1. foto
    2. picture
    1. kuna:?
    2. which
    1.   ‘Which picture of herself does Mary think the children gave to the people?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. *Amaryi
    2.   Mary
    1. pā-chīm
    2. think
    1. bísāŋá
    2. child.DEF.PL
    1. give
    1. Q
    1. núr
    2. man
    1. bānā
    2. which
    1. wà-dēki
    2. 3SG-self
    1. foto
    2. picture
    1. kuna:?
    2. which
    1.   ‘Which people does Mary think the children gave which picture of herself?’

Another argument for the non-movement of the ká-less wh-phrase comes from intervention. We saw that placing an intervener above a wh-phrase preceded by doesn’t trigger intervention. In multiple wh-contexts where the second wh-phrase is not preceded by and doesn’t move, we might predict intervention effects. This is indeed the case, as shown in (44) below.

    1. (44)
    1. a.
    1. *Ajohn
    2.   John
    1. àn
    2. NEG
    1. give
    1. Q
    1. wān
    2. who
    1. bwāː?
    2. what
    1.   ‘Who did John not give what?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *
    2.   Q
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. ālì
    2. INFL
    1. kàn
    2. NEG
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. bwā?
    2. what
    1.   ‘Who did not cook what?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1.   ()
    2.     Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. ātì
    2. C
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. àn
    2. NEG
    1. dìgì
    2. cook
    1. yā:?
    2. PRT
    1.   ‘What is it that who did not cook?’

Although the -phrase can move across the intervener in (44a), the second wh-phrase will not, resulting in an intervention effect. In example (44b) where negation is below Wh1 and above Wh2, the result is ungrammatical, as an instance of an intervention effects. Example (44c) shows that if all the wh-phrases are above the intervener we do not get intervention effects. Note that this extends to other interveners including “only” and “also”.

We have seen in this section that there are basically two kinds of wh-in-situ in the language: the one preceded by and the one without a . As argued in the previous section, drawing from different kinds of evidence, the in-situ wh-phrase preceded by is the only one that undergoes covert movement. The -less one, on the other hand, does not undergo any kind of movement. This is reminiscent of wh-in situ in Vietnamese (Bruening & Tran 2006) where it has been argued that wh-in situ phrases can be interpreted either by covert movement or by unselective binding without movement. In Vietnamese, however, the covert movement strategy occurs in matrix questions when there is no question particle, while unselective binding (lack of movement) is employed when there is a question particle and in embedded questions generally.

4.3 The left-peripheral ká-phrase

In this section, we turn to constructions like (45), repeated from (4), where the -phrase is found at the left-periphery of the clause. I show that, as far as wh-movement is concerned, Bùlì is a language where both overt and covert movement behave nearly identically except for the phonology—with both interacting with Islands, intervention effects, and binding theory in perfectly identical ways, once extraneous factors like linear precedence are taken into account.

In these constructions, as noted earlier, the wh-phrase is obligatorily followed by ātì if the wh-phrase is a non subject, (45a)–(45b), and ālì if it is a local subject.

    1. (45)
    1. a.
    1. (Ká)
    2.   Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. *(ātì)
    2.     ATI
    1. bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìgìː?
    2. cook
    1.   ‘What is it that the child cooked?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. (Ká)
    2.   Q
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. *(ātì)
    2.     ATI
    1. bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. lāmmú
    2. meat.DEF
    1. tēː?
    2. give
    1. ‘Who is it that the child cooked the meat for?’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. (Ká)
    2.   Q
    1. wānā
    2. who
    1. *(ālì)
    2.     ALI
    1. dìg
    2. cook
    1. lāmmúː?
    2. meat.DEF
    1. ‘Who cooked the meat?’

I follow Ferreira & Ko (2003) and Hiraiwa (2003; 2005) in assuming that these constructions involve overt movement of the goal to the Spec of the probe, ātì, thus making overt movement optional in the language. The fact that the gap can be found several clauses away and is subject to islands is evidence that this construction involves movement.

The gap can be found several clauses away. The wh-phrases originate from within the embedded clauses in (46).

    1. (46)
    1. a.
    1. (Ká)
    2.   Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. *(ātì)
    2.     ATI
    1. 2SG
    1. wèːnì
    2. say
    1. āyīn
    2. C
    1. bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. dìgìː?
    2. cook
    1. ‘What did you say the child cooked?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. (Ká)
    2.   Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. *(ātì)
    2.     ATI
    1. 2SG
    1. páː-chīm
    2. think
    1. 1SG
    1. dìgìː?
    2. cook
    1. ‘What do you think I cooked?’

Like the in situ construction discussed above, the left-peripheral Q behaves like movement, sensitive to familiar islands as seen in (47)–(51).

    1. (47)
    1. Complex DP island-relative clause
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. *(Ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. ātí
    2. ATI
    1. 2SG
    1. á-yáalí
    2. IMPF-love
    1. [núrpók
    2. woman
    1. wāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. ālì
    2. ALI
    1. buy
    1. lá:?]
    2. PRT
    1.   ‘What do you love the woman who bought?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *(Ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. ātī
    2. ATI
    1. 2SG
    1. á-yáalí
    2. IMPF-love
    1. núrpók
    2. woman
    1. wāi
    2. REL.PRO
    1. ātī
    2. ATI
    1. Azuma
    2. Azuma
    1. pòlì
    2. think
    1. āyīn
    2. C
    1. 3SG
    1. buy
    1. lá:?
    2. PRT
    1.   ‘What is it that you love the woman who Azumah thought she bought?’
    1. (48)
    1. Coordinate structure Constraint
    1. *(Ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. ātí
    2. C
    1. Azuma
    2. Azuma
    1. buy
    1. gbáŋ
    2. book
    1. ālī?
    2. CONJ
    1.   ‘What did Azuma buy a book and?’
    1. (49)
    1. Because-clause
    1. *(Ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. ātí
    2. ATI
    1. bíːká
    2. child.DEF
    1. à
    2. IMPF
    1. laugh
    1. John
    2. John
    1. ali
    2. ALI
    1. buy
    1. la
    2. PRT
    1. ɲīŋa?
    2. body
    1.   ‘What is the child laughing because John bought?’
    1. (50)
    1. If-clause
    1. *(Ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. ātī
    2. ATI
    1. Asouk
    2. Asouk
    1. FUT
    1. dígí
    2. cook
    1. āsī
    2. if
    1. Apita
    2. Peter
    1. dīn
    2. PRT
    1. wéːní
    2. say
    1. āyīn
    2. C
    1. Azuma
    2. Azuma
    1. dà?
    2. bought
    1.   ‘What is it that Asouk will cook if Peter says Azuma bought?’
    1. (51)
    1. Adjunct Island
    1. *(Ká)
    2.     Q
    1. bwā
    2. what
    1. ātí
    2. ATI
    1. Azuma
    2. Azumah
    1. gwà
    2. sleep
    1. ālī-ān
    2. without
    1. buy
    1. yā:?
    2.  
    1.   ‘What did Azuma sleep without buying?’

Another piece of evidence for overt movement comes from binding theory and reconstruction. Wh-movement does not obviate binding relations from the position from which movement took place. Consider the following examples in English. An R-expression cannot co-refer with a c-commanding pronoun, (52a), so John in the object DP cannot co-refer with the subject pronoun. When we move the object containing the R-expression John to a position where the subject no longer c-commands it, it still does not make the construction better, (52b). This follows from the observation that wh-movement does not obviate binding possibilities (in this case principle C violations). This observation is easily explained under the copy theory of movement (Chomsky 1995) where a moved element leaves behind a copy of itself, rather than a trace.

(52) a. *Who thinks He1 likes [which picture of John1]?
  b. *Who wonders [Which picture of John1] he likes?

Reconstruction effects are observed for the wh-phrase in the left periphery. As expected, in (53b), moving the wh-phrase to the left does not bleed the satisfaction of principle A.

    1. (53)
    1. a.
    1. i
    2. 3SG
    1. ɲà
    2. see
    1. Q
    1. wà-dēki
    2. 3SG-DEK
    1. fōtō
    2. picture
    1. kūnā:?
    2. which
    1. ‘Which picture of himself did he see?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Q
    1. wà-dēki
    2. 3SG-DEK
    1. fōtō
    2. picture
    1. kūnā
    2. which
    1. ati
    2. ATI
    1. i
    2. 3SG
    1. ɲàː?
    2. see
    1. ‘Which picture of himself did he see?’

It is important to note, however, that the antecedent for the anaphor must be a pronoun. The construction becomes bad if the subject is replaced by an R-expression, (54b).

    1. (54)
    1. a.
    1.   Ajohni
    2.   John
    1. ɲà
    2. see
    1. Q
    1. i-dēk
    2. 3SG-DEK
    1. fōtō
    2. picture
    1. kūnā:?
    2. which
    1.   ‘Which picture of himself did John see?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Ká
    2.   Q
    1. wà-dēki
    2. 3SG-DEK
    1. fōtō
    2. picture
    1. kūnā
    2. which
    1. ati
    2. C
    1. Johni
    2. John
    1. ɲàː?
    2. see
    1.   ‘Which picture of himself did John see?’

A constraint like (55) seems to be responsible for the impossibility of demonstrating reconstruction effects with R-expressions.

(55) An R-expression may not be linearly preceded by a nominal co-indexed with it.

Other data that support (55) independent of reconstruction are given below. In all the ungrammatical cases below, an R-expression follows a co-indexed pronoun or a reflexive. Even though the pronouns and anaphors do not c-command the R-expressions in (56), the sentence is still judged to be ungrammatical.6

    1. (56)
    1. a.
    1. *Wài
    2.   3SG
    1. màwá
    2. mother.DEF
    1. à-yā:
    2. IMPF-like
    1. Johni.
    2. John
    1.   ‘His mother likes John.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   Wài
    2.   3SG
    1. màwá
    2. mother.DEF
    1. à-yā:
    2. IMPF-like
    1. i.
    2. 3SG
    1.   ‘His mother likes him.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1.   Ajohni
    2.   John
    1. màwá
    2. mother.DEF
    1. à-yā:
    2. IMPF-like
    1. i.
    2. 3SG
    1.   ‘John’s mother likes him.’

5 Conclusion

The paper investigated the syntax of wh-in-situ through the lens of Bùlì. The data presented here show that the language has a Q-particle whose distributional properties are in many ways comparable to Q-particles previously identified for Tlingit (Cable 2007; 2010), Sinhala and Japanese (Hagstrom 2004; Kishimoto 2005). It was argued that the Q-particle project, thus making the language a Q-projecting language where the Q-particle takes a complement.

The data also show that wh-in-situ, even within the same language, can be interpreted either via covert movement or via special semantic treatments: focus-alternative computations or unselective binding. Covert movement is, strikingly, highly similar to overt movement. If this conclusion is right, then the discussion here provides further evidence for the mixed view that both movement and special semantic treatments are available for wh-in-situ (Pesetsky 2000; Beck 2006; Bruening & Tran 2006; Cable 2007; 2010; Kotek 2014).

Notes

1Unless otherwise indicated, the data for this paper come from a combination of my own intuitions, and consultation with other native speakers. The working language for consultation with other speakers was in both Bùlì and English.

2I would like to thank an anonymous reviewer for drawing my attention to this paper.

3This label is somewhat misleading because the particle is not restricted to only questions.

4bɛ̄-gēŋ is sometimes shortened as bɛ̄. I will therefore use the short form in the rest of the paper.

5The same observation is made for D-linked questions: must always appear on the highest wh-containing phrase.

6What still remains as a puzzle and needs explanation under this sketch of an account is the contrast in (i)–(ii) where there also seem to be no reconstruction effects for principle C. Perhaps what the data is teaching us is that reconstruction is not obligatory for binding principle C. A solution to this might lie in detailed investigations of reflexives and pronouns generally in the language where precedence happens to play a critical role in the licensing of anaphors as noted. I therefore leave this open for future work.

    1. (i)
    1. a.
    1. *Wài
    2.   3SG
    1. ɲà
    2. see
    1. John
    1. Johni
    2. Q
    1. fōtō
    2. picture
    1. kūnā:?
    2. which
    1.   ‘Which picture of John did he see?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   Ká
    2.   Q
    1. Johni
    2. John
    1. fōtō
    2. picture
    1. kūnā
    2. which
    1. ati
    2. C
    1. i
    2. 3SG
    1. ɲàː?
    2. see
    1. ‘Which picture of John did he see?’
    1. (ii)
    1. a.
    1. *Wài
    2.   3SG
    1. take
    1. Q
    1. Ajohni
    2. John
    1. gāŋ
    2. side
    1. kùnā
    2. which
    1. fōtō:?
    2. photograph
    1.   ‘Which side of John did he photograph?’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   Ká
    2.   Q
    1. Ajohni
    2. John
    1. gāŋ
    2. side
    1. kùnā
    2. which
    1. ātì
    2. C
    1. i
    2. 3SG
    1. take
    1. fōtō:?
    2. photograph
    1.   ‘Which side of John did he photograph?

Abbreviations

ACC = accusative, C = complementizer, CONJ = conjunction, DEF = definite, DEM = demonstrative, FUT = future, IMPF = imperfective, NEG = negation, P = (pre/post)-position, PL = plural, PRT = particle, Q = question, REL.PRO = relative pronoun, SG = singular, TOP = topic

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank three anonymous reviewers for their rigorous and useful comments and suggestions. I wish to thank E.O. Enoch Aboh, George Akanlig-Pare, Isa Kerem Bayirli, Kenyon Branan, Seth Cable, Danny Fox, Aron Hirsch, Sabine Iatridou, Claire Halpert, Ken Hiraiwa, Michael Kenstowicz, Shigeru Miyagawa, David Pesetsky, Norvin Richards, Roger Schwarzschild, Benjamin Storme, Michelle Yuan, the audience of MIT-Syntax Square, GLOW40, and Syntax Brown Bag-NYU, April 14, 2017 for helpful comments and questions. I also wish to thank Johan Rooryck and his editorial team for their assistance.

Competing Interests

The author has no competing interests to declare.

References

  1. Aoun, Joseph & Audrey Li. 1993. On some differences between chinese and japanese wh-elements. Linguistic Inquiry 24(2). 365–372. 

  2. Aoun, Joseph, Norbert Hornstein & Dominique Sportiche. 1993. Some aspects of wide scope quantification. Journal of Linguistic Research (1). 67–95. 

  3. Beck, Sigrid. 2006. Intervention effects follow from focus interpretation*. Natural Language Semantics 14(1). 1–56. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11050-005-4532-y. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-005-4532-y 

  4. Bruening, Benjamin & Thuan Tran. 2006. Wh-questions in vietnamese. J East Asian Linguist 15. 319–341. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10831-006-9001-1 

  5. Cable, Seth. 2007. The grammar of Q: Q-particles and the nature of wh-fronting, as revealed by the wh-questions of Tlingit. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology dissertation. 

  6. Cable, Seth. 2010. The grammar of q: q-particles, wh-movement, and pied-piping. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

  7. Chomsky, Noam. 1976. Conditions on the rules of grammar. Linguistic Analysis 2(4). 303–351. 

  8. Chomsky, Noam. 1995. The minimalist program. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 

  9. Ferreira, Marcelo & Heejeong Ko. 2003. Questions in Buli. In Michael Kenstowicz & George Akanlig-Pare (eds.), Studies in Buli grammar: Working papers on endangered and less familiar languages 4. 35–44. Cambridge, MA: MITWPL. 

  10. Hagstrom, Paul. 2004. Particle movement in Sinhala and Japanese. In Veneeta Dayal & Anoop Mahajan (eds.), Clause structure in south asian languages 61. 227–252. Boston, MA: Kluwer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-2719-2_8 

  11. Hagstrom, Paul Alan. 1998. Decomposing questions: Massachusetts Institute of Technology dissertation. 

  12. Hamblin, C. L. 1973. Questions in Montague English. Foundations of Language 10. 41–53. 

  13. Hiraiwa, Ken. 2003. Relativization in Buli. In Michael Kenstowicz & George Akanlig-Pare (eds.), Studies in Buli grammar: Working papers on endangered and less familiar languages 4. 45–84. Cambridge, MA: MITWPL. 

  14. Hiraiwa, Ken. 2005. Dimensions of symmetry in syntax: Agreement and clausal architecture: Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology dissertation. 

  15. Huang, Cheng-Teh James. 1982a. Logical relations in chinese and the theory of grammar. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology dissertation. 

  16. Huang, Cheng-Teh James. 1982b. Move WH in a language without WH movement. The Linguistic Review 1. 369–416. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tlir.1982.1.4.369 

  17. Kishimoto, Hideki. 2005. Wh-in-situ and movement in Sinhala questions. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 23. 1–51. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11049-004-6574-0 

  18. Kotek, Hadas. 2014. Composing Questions. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology dissertation. 

  19. Nishigauchi, Taisuke. 1990. Quantification in the theory of grammar. Dordrecht: Kluwer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-1972-3 

  20. Nissenbaum, Jonathan W. 2000. Investigations of covert phrase movement. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology dissertation. 

  21. Pesetsky, David. 1987. Wh-in-situ: Movement and unselective binding. In Eric J. Reuland & Alice G. B. ter Meulen (eds.), The representation of (in)definiteness (Current Studies in Lingistics), chap. 5, vol. 14. 98–129. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 

  22. Pesetsky, David. 2000. Phrasal movement and its kin (Linguistic Inquiry Monographs), vol. 37. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/5365.001.0001 

  23. Richards, Norvin W. 1997. What moves where when in which languages. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology dissertation. 

  24. Rooth, Mats. 1985. Association with focus. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts dissertation. 

  25. Rooth, Mats. 1992. A theory of focus interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 1. 75–116. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02342617 

  26. Ruys, Eddy G. 1992. The scope of indefinites. Utrecht: Utrecht University dissertation. 

  27. Tsai, Wei-Tien. 1994. On ecomomizing the theory of A-bar dependencies. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology dissertation. 

  28. Watanabe, Akira. 2001. Wh-in-situ languages. In Mark R. Baltin & Chris Collins (eds.), The handbook of contemporary syntactic theory, 203–225. Oxford: Blackwell. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470756416.ch7 

comments powered by Disqus