Article published in:Linguistic Variation Yearbook 2003
Edited by Pierre Pica
[Linguistic Variation Yearbook 3] 2003
► pp. 43–68
Yes/no questions and the relation between tense and polarity in English and Finnish
It is argued that the structure of the sentence in English as well as Finnish is C [Pol [T...]], where Pol(arity) has negative or affirmative value. Yes/no questions are derived, universally, by movement of a wh-marked Pol to C, deriving an operator-variable relation between C and Pol. No category with interpretable features can intervene between C and Pol, as it would block the crucial relation between C and Pol. It is argued, with reference to Finnish, that we do not need to assume any head with uninterpretable features such as AgrS between C and Pol, either. For English, the theory is based on Zwicky & Pullum’s 1983 arguments that the negation -n’t in English is an inflection, combined with the analysis of inflected words as derived by head movement and incorporation of a lexical head in the inflectional head.
Keywords: negation, questions, head movement, finiteness, AGR
Published online: 08 December 2004
Cited by 4 other publications
Bianchi, Valentina & Silvio Cruschina
Newmeyer, Frederick J.
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