Variable pronunciation sites and types of wh-in-situ
Examining data from Coptic Egyptian, the last descendant of the Ancient Egyptian language, this chapter argues for a new type of wh-in-situ, in which the copy privileged for phonological realization is the lowest member of the wh-chain, while the head of the chain as well as the intermediate copies are left unpronounced. Coptic can be described as a wh-in-situ language in which wh-clefting and wh-fronting are available as marked wh-interrogative strategies. The wh-insitu pattern is marked morphologically by “relative tenses”, so called because a relative marker appears in front of the tense-aspect-mood inflection. Based on their parallelism in scope and interpretation, the chapter argues that wh-in-situ and wh-fronting structures in Coptic are both derived by applications of wh-movement in the narrow syntax, before Spell-Out. Under this perspective, Coptic relative tenses are interpreted as a morphological instantiation of “wh-agreement”. It is proposed that the simultaneous pronunciation of the topmost wh-copy and the relative marker are prohibited by an economy filter on the morpho-syntactic encoding of wh-dependencies, which is reminiscent of the “Doubly-filled Comp” Filter in English. Deletion of the wh-element or the relative marker is then what yields the apparent distinction between wh-movement and wh-in situ constructions at the surface. Lower copy pronunciation of wh-elements is of particular theoretical interest, since it shows that the PF wing of the grammar permits the same range of realization sites for wh-chains at LF (Bošković and Nunes, this volume).
Cited by 1 other publications
Deal, Amy Rose
. Cyclicity and Connectivity in Nez Perce Relative Clauses
. Linguistic Inquiry
pp. 427 ff.
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