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LINGUIST List 22.4931

Thu Dec 08 2011

Diss: Linguistic Theories: Vaezi : 'Formal , Functional and ...'

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        1.     Hengameh Vaezi , Formal , Functional and Cognitive Approaches : WH - Constructions in Persian


Message 1: Formal , Functional and Cognitive Approaches : WH - Constructions in Persian
Date: 07-Dec-2011
From: Hengameh Vaezi <hengamehvaeziyahoo.com>
Subject: Formal , Functional and Cognitive Approaches : WH - Constructions in Persian
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Institution: Allameh Tabataba’i University
Program: Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Hengameh Vaezi

Dissertation Title: Formal , Functional and Cognitive Approaches : WH - Constructions in Persian

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories

Dissertation Director:
Mohammad Dabir Moghaddam

Dissertation Abstract:

In this dissertation, wh-questions in Persian are explored within three
approaches: Formal, Functional and Cognitive.

In the first section, I examine the syntax of Persian wh-arguments,
wh-adjuncts and discourse-linked wh words. It shows that Persian has two
types of wh-questions: a) wh- in- situ b) displaced wh. The comparison
of LF movement in English and Persian show that there are some differences
between these two languages at LF. Some evidence supports this assumption
that wh-in-situ involves Overt Operator movement (but invisible). So,
contrary to Huang's LF movement approach to wh-in-situ, it is possible to
introduce different types of wh-in-situ languages. Displaced wh-words are
the words moved to the front of the sentence in order to be focused. On the
assumption of split CP, wh-word lands into the FocP. The analysis of simple
and compound sentences in Persian show that each sentence contains only a
single Focus Phrase constituent. Moved wh-words occupy the specifier
position of Focus Phrase. This kind of wh-word is heavily stressed. If two
constituents move into the specifier position of Focus Phrase, that
sentence will be ruled out. The solution is that one of them occupies the
Focus Phrase and wh-word will occupy the highest projection (Force Phrase).
So wh-words can occupy two different positions, Focus Phrase or Force
phrase. The consequence of this discussion is that Focal Intonation may
mismatch wh-words.

In the second section, wh-sentences are considered functionally and
typologically. On the functional dimension, a set of interrogative pronouns
were found. Moreover, semantic distinctions of interrogative pronouns were
explained in terms of case-roles, gender, number and reference. In Persian,
Animacy is marked only in the set of wh-pronouns in the distinction between
who vs. what. However, semantic class can be taken into consideration in
either definite or non-referential interrogative pronouns. Similarly,
number is unmarked in the wh-pronouns of Persian, but can be added when
they are used for definite or non-referential questions.

In the third section, the Construction Grammar is introduced. It was argued
that the formal Constraints in syntax are motivated by their functions.
Non-syntactic factors are responsible for them. It was emphasized that
syntactic motivations such as Subjacency can not predict all contexts.
Persian evidence support this idea. On this assumption of construction,
context and combination of constructions can show the correct form and
meanings. In the usage-based models, the constructions can be combined, on
the basis of information structure properties of the constructions
involved. The extraction of wh-word from complements of Bridge verbs,
Manner of Speaking verbs and Factive verbs showed that subjacency can not
predict all the possibilities in these complements. The Island status of
the complements of these verbs showed that complements of Manner of
Speaking verbs and Factive verbs are islands. Being an island ( in this
grammar) correlates with the Backgroundedness of information. Bridge verbs
are the most acceptable wh-extraction questions in Persian.




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