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Chapter 12

LINB06H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Theta Role, Complementizer, Accusative Case


Department
Linguistics
Course Code
LINB06H3
Professor
Juvenal Ndayiragije
Chapter
12

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LINB06 Chapter 12
Wh-movement and Locality Constraints
- Wh-question
o There are several different kinds of questions, only two of which we are concerned with
in this book
- The first kind is the familiar yes/no questions
- The answer to these questions cannot e athig othe tha es, o, ae, o I dot ko
- The other kind of question is called a wh-question
o These questions take their name from the fact that the words that introduce them
(mostly) begin with the letters <wh> in English: who/whom, what, when, where, why,
which, and how
1. Movement in WH-questions
- Wh-phrase appears in a position far away from the position where its theta role is assigned
- The e u i Eglish takes to theta oles, a eteal aget ad iteal thee
o 3a) Becky is the agent and the syntax book is the theme
o 3b) Becky is the agent and what is the theme
- hat is still thee of ought
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- So it appears as if not only are these wh-phases ot i thei theta positios, ut the aet i
their case position either
- One positio that ee had fo a hile, ut hae et used is the speifie of CP
o This is the place wh-phrase move to:
- Notice that what moves here is an entire phrase
- When you move an entire phrase, it cannot be an instance of head-to-head movement, so this
must be movement to a position other than a head, in this case the empty specifier of CP
- The movement of the specifier of CP accounts for another fact about the word order of wh-
questions: they also involve T -> C movement
- The wh-phrase appears to the left of the aux in C
o This means that the wh-phrase must raise to a position higher than C
o The only position available to us is the specifier CP
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- The fact that wh-movement is to the CP specifier position can also be seen in languages that
allow both a wh-phrase and an overt complementizer, such as Irish:
- In Irish, the wh-phrase cad hat appeas to the left of the opleetize aL, supporting the
idea that the wh-phrase is in the specifier of CP, the only position available to it
- This follows simply form the assumption that the only complementizer that is compatible with
wh-movement in English is null
- We trigger T -> C movement with a [+Q] feature that was part of the complementizer
o DP movement, was triggered by a case feature
- We can do the same thing here, for wh-questions, by proposing a feature that triggers wh-
movement
o [+WH]
- It resides in the C of a wh-sentence
- In some languages (such as Irish), there are special forms of complementizers that represent
these features:
- You get the go complementizer when the sentence is not a yes/no or wh-question
- You get the an complementizer in yes/no questions
- aL in wh-questions
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