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Covert partial wh-movement and the nature of derivations


Hadas Kotek

McGill University, CA
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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.

How to Cite: Kotek, H. (2016). Covert partial wh-movement and the nature of derivations. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 1(1), 25. DOI:
Published on 28 Jul 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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