Recasting the typology of multiple wh-fronting: Evidence from Pontic Greek

Abstract

In this paper we revisit and revise the typology of multiple questions and multiple wh-fronting (MWF) in the light of data from Romeyka, a Greek variety spoken in Pontus, Turkey, and from another Pontic Greek variety spoken in northern Greece. Both varieties provide evidence for wh-fronting as focus movement, their most striking feature being the availability of single-pair interpretations in spite of strict Superiority. It turns out that the parametric system deriving the space of variation in multiple wh-fronting must be extended to accommodate the facts presented here, which seem to instantiate a further type of MWF (with a corresponding type of non-MWF languages), not predicted by the existing typology. At the same time, put in a cross-linguistic perspective, the Romeyka facts may help us uncover independent restrictions on the possibilities that this parametric system makes available. We propose that the availability of peripheral positions and their activation in the left or low periphery may be a point of parametric variation. Furthermore, still complying with Bošković’s (2007) theory of Attract-1/all, certain Focus heads can be Attract-1, thus deriving the compatibility of Superiority with single pair readings. Finally, we present some speculations about a potential correlation between word order/head directionality in the clausal domain and the kind of information structure-related head (e.g. Topic vs. Focus) that can take on an Attract-1 feature.

Keywords

multiple wh-fronting, Pontic Greek, Romeyka, Superiority effects, focus

How to Cite

Michelioudakis, D. & Sitaridou, I., (2016) “Recasting the typology of multiple wh-fronting: Evidence from Pontic Greek”, Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 1(1): 40. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.72

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Dimitris Michelioudakis (University of York)
Ioanna Sitaridou (University of Cambridge)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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