Linguistics Colloquium – Barbara Citko (04/30/10)

This week’s colloquium features our very own Barbara Citko, and is about “Wh-Questions with Coordinated Wh-Pronouns.” Abstract below.


Wh-Questions with Coordinated Wh-Pronouns
(joint paper with Martina Gracanin-Yuksek)
Barbara Citko
Department of Linguistics
University of Washington

Friday, Apr 30, 2010
3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Mary Gates Hall 241

In this talk we present a new typology of wh-questions with coordinated wh-phrases (henceforth CWHs), illustrated in (1) with a Russian example.
(1) ?to i kogda oni podarili?
what and when they gave
‘What did they give, and when?’
(Gribanova 2009:134)
We argue against claims that CWHs are always mono-clausal, as in (2) (Gribanova 2009, Kazenin 2002, Skrabalova 2006, Zhang 2007, Zoerner 1995), or that they are always bi-clausal, as in (3) (B?nr?ti 1992, Browne 1972, Whitman 2002).
(2) [[CP [&P WHi and WHj] [TP ? ti ? tj ?]]]
(3) [&P [CP WHi [TP ? ti ?]] and [CP WHj [TP ? tj ? ]]]
Instead, we propose that there is no unique universal structure for CWHs and that their structure can vary not only cross-linguistically, but also within a single language. More specifically, we argue that there are three types of CWHs: one mono-clausal and two bi-clausal ones. This allows us to capture the cross-linguistic distribution of CWHs, as well as the similarities (or the lack thereof) between CWHs and non-coordinate multiple wh-questions (MWHs). We use four kinds of diagnostics to determine which of the three structures is available in a particular language: the availability of both MWHs and CWHs, the possibility of conjoining two argument wh-phrases, the grammaticality of a CWH with obligatorily transitive verbs, and the parallelism in superiority effects between MWHs and CWHs.

Reception to follow in same room.

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