Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:

$34228

Still Needed:

$40772

Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington


Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Book Information

   
Sun Image

Title: On the Typology of Wh-Questions
Written By: Lisa Lai-Shen Cheng
Series Title: Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics
Description:

This study offers an explanation to a long-standing question in the typological distinction among languages with respect to the formation of wh-questions (i.e. interrogatives which use question words such as 'who' and 'what'). It is well-known that languages differ in the position of the question word(s) in a wh-question. It is proposed that both the availability of question particles and the properties of question words contribute to the typological distinctions found. In particular, the author argues that the availability of question particles correlates with the lack of fronting of question words. A theory of Clausal Typing is proposed to account for this correlation. More specifically, languages employ either question particles or a fronting strategy to "type" a clause as a wh-question. The theory of Clausal Typing together with the Principle of Economy of Derivation predicts that (a) no language has the option of alternating between the two methods of Clausal Typing and thus there are no languages with "optional fronting" of question words and (b) fronting of one question word is sufficient to type a clause as a wh-question. Apparent counterexamples to the predictions involving "optional fronting" languages such as Bahasa Indonesia and Egyptian Arabic as well as "multiple fronting" languages such as Hungarian and Bulgarian are discussed and accounted for.

The internal structure of question words is further shown to shed light on two particular issues in the literature: (i) the lack of scope ambiguity in "in-situ" languages such as Mandarin Chinese (a language without fronting of question words); and (ii) the question of whether "in-situ" question words undergo fronting at Logical Form. It is proposed that question words in Mandarin are indefinite noun phrases without inherent quantificational force, and that this contributes to the lack of scope ambiguity in the language. In addition, arguments for and against LF fronting of question words are examined. It is shown that evidence against such fronting does not hold and that the properties of question words in "in-situ" languages do not preclude fronting at LF.

Publication Year: 1997
Publisher: Garland Publishers
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Syntax
Typology
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0815328877
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 220
Prices: $51