Events

In this meeting I will present initial directions for my 888 paper, which is intended to be an exploration of what mechanisms UG makes available for long-distance dependencies such as the wh-question "What did Mary suspect (that ...) that Billy ate _?”. I will focus on German wh-questions as they offer an interesting and yet open puzzle. There are three different wh-question dependencies in the language: long-distance wh-movement (1a), partial wh-movement (also known as wh-scope marking) (1b), and the wh-copying construction (1c).

(1) Who did the teacher think that Hansi bit?

a. Wen hat der Lehrer gemeint dass Hansi gebissen hat?
   who has the teacher reckoned that Hansi bit has

b. Was hat der Lehrer gemeint wen Hansi gebissen hat?
   what has the teacher reckoned who Hansi bit has

c. Wen hat der Lehrer gemeint wen Hansi gebissen hat?
   who has the teacher reckoned who Hansi bit has

All three can apply long-distance and involve wh-movement in one way or another. Trivially, they are not identical given their form, but it is also known that they cannot be identical underlyingly. It is still an open question, however, what syntax they share if they share any, and in particular whether they share the same mechanism for their long-distance character.

In this talk, I establish a new diagnostic for successive-cyclic wh-movement through vP in the long-distance wh-movement strategy, and discuss ways in which the diagnostic can be used to compare the three wh-dependencies. I will start out by asking the more specific and controversial question, whether there is evidence for the three dependencies being derived via Movement, by testing whether the diagnostic for successive-cyclicity applies equality to all three. Initial results for partial wh-movement are discussed.