Covert partial wh-movement and the nature of derivations

Abstract

Wh-movement is commonly thought to be caused by a syntactic probing operation, initiated by an interrogative probe on C, which triggers subsequent movement to the specifier of C. In this paper I argue that at least English covert wh-movement cannot be described in these terms. I argue instead that covert movement can target positions other than interrogative C, and that this movement is triggered by the interpretational needs of the wh-phrase itself, rather than the formal needs of interrogative C. Evidence will come from the interaction of English multiple wh-questions with intervention effects: I document a pattern of intervention effects that is explained only if English in-situ wh-phrases can be interpreted at LF in non-interrogative intermediate positions.

Keywords

multiple wh-questions, intervention effects, covert movement, probing, top-down and bottom-up derivations, Economy

How to Cite

Kotek H., (2016) “Covert partial wh-movement and the nature of derivations”, Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 1(1), p.25. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.49

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Authors

Hadas Kotek (McGill University)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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