Edited by Mark Dingemanse, Eva van Lier and Jorrig Vogels
[Linguistics in the Netherlands 38] 2021
► pp. 4–20
Acceptability judgements of syntactic island violations are often claimed to improve by either increasing the complexity of the wh-filler phrase or integrating the violating sentence into a discourse. In two acceptability judgement tasks, we looked at wh-island violations in Dutch by varying the complexity of the filler phrase and by presenting the sentences either in isolation or with a preceding discourse. We found that neither variable had a significant effect in isolation, but that only in their combination a significant effect was observed. The same effect showed up in non-island conditions, however. This is in contrast to findings in the literature on English and French and suggests that the complexity effect in Dutch is not syntactic. We therefore conclude that wh-islands are strong islands in Dutch (Broekhuis & Corver 2015) and show that the contrast with English and French can be made to follow from featural Relativized Minimality (Rizzi 2017), taking into account the verb second property of Dutch.