Article published in:Comparative and Contrastive Studies of Information Structure
Edited by Carsten Breul and Edward Göbbel
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 165] 2010
► pp. 101–138
Wh-questions in French and English
Mapping syntax to information structure
As opposed to English, French wh-questions can take a wide variety of forms. I identify four basic patterns: (a) wh- in situ: Vous êtes allés où?; (b) wh- raised, verb in situ: Où vous êtes allés?; (c) est-ce que insertion: Où est-ce que vous êtes allés?; (d) subject-clitic inversion: Où êtes-vous allés?, and argue that these are in fact ‘allo-questions’. Based on a review of historical factors, as well as on recent corpus studies, I show that each of the four question types corresponds to a distinct pragmatic function and compare French and English usage. Finally, wh- in situ constructions are formally analysed as a covert form of multiple wh-question, using an unselective binding mechanism.
Published online: 09 September 2010
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