LINGUIST List 7.377

Mon Mar 11 1996

Sum: Pre-IP heads

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  1. Annabel Cormack, Summary: Pre-IP heads

Message 1: Summary: Pre-IP heads

Date: Sat, 09 Mar 1996 21:09:46 CST
From: Annabel Cormack <>
Subject: Summary: Pre-IP heads

I asked what languages had sequences : Wh-phrase - if -that. Many
thanks to Homme Piest, Christer Platzak, Henny Klein v-d Laaken, Naomi
Mertens, Paulien Rijkhoek, Craig Thiersch, H.A.Y Wolf, Lynne

The languages mentioned with such sequences were: Dutch, Frisian, and
Swedish (maybe).

Several people said that the Dutch examples (like (i)) that they
offered were sub-standard. Others did not, or asserted
grammaticality, or said they were better in certain cases than others.
There seems to be dialectal differences concerning the acceptability
of examples like (1) and (2), too. (I can pass on the detailed
responses, if anyone wants them).

In addition, at least Dutch and Danish can have sequences of three
complementisers (without a Wh-phrase). I include some examples below.

(i) Hij weet welke jongen of dat je gezien hebt.
 he knows which boy C2 C3 you seen have

where C2 corresponds to if and C3 to that.

(ii) Dat is niet zo gek als of dat hij gedacht had.
 that is not as crazy C1 C2 C3 he thought had

where C1 is a comparative complementizer

1 Ze wisten niet wat of ze zouden doen
 they didn't know what if they should do

2 Ze wisten niet wat dat ze zouden doen
 they didn't know what that they should do

(1 and 2 from Algemene Nederlandse Spraakkunst)

Hoekstra, Eric 1993 Dialectal Variation inside CP as Parametric
Variation in Werner Abraham and Josef Bayer eds. Dialektsyntax
Westdeutscher Verlag Opladen 161-179.

Jan-Wouter Zwart, "Dutch Syntax. A Minimalist Approach" (1993) also
discussed these cases.

DANISH (taken from a study by Erik Hansen):

(iii) Pigerne blev BANGE men de lod som om at de ikke var det.
 the girls became afraid but they sounded C1 C2 C3 they not was it

(iv) Det er som om at den film absolut skal kanoefles
 it is C1 C2 C3 that film necessarily must be-mobbed

SWEDISH Cases like (iii) and (iv) can be found also in substandard
Swedish. It seems to me that also cases like (i) can be found in
Swedish, although I would like to find an authentic example before I
really trust my intuition (Christer Platzak).

Standard FRISIAN encliticized the "if that" part to 't, although in
some environments the full forms "oft (dat)" is also grammatical.

(3) Jan wit net wa't dizze man is
 j knows not who-CLIT this man is

For further reading on Frisian, see: Tiersma, P.M. (1985), Frisian
Reading Grammar, Dordrecht: Foris.

Thanks again.
Annabel Cormack.
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