by Lisa Lai-Shen Cheng and Norbert Corver
foreword by Noam Chomsky
Wh-movement--the phenomenon by which interrogative words appear at the
beginning of interrogative sentences--is one of the central displacement
operations of human language. Noam Chomsky’s 1977 article "On Wh-movement,"
a landmark in the study of wh-movement (and movement in general), showed
that this computational operation is the basis of a variety of syntactic
constructions that had previously been described in terms of
construction-specific rules. Taking Chomsky’s article as a starting point,
the contributors to this collection reconsider a number of the issues
raised in "On Wh-movement" from the perspective of contemporary Minimalist
syntactic theory (which explores the thesis that human language is a system
optimally designed to meet certain interface conditions imposed by other
cognitive systems with which the language faculty interacts).
They discuss such wh-movement issues as wh-phrases and pied-piping, the
formation of A-bar chains and the copy theory of movement, cyclicity and
locality of wh-movement, and the typology of wh-constructions. By
reconsidering core characteristics of the wh-movement operation first
systematically discussed by Chomsky from the Minimalist perspective, this
volume contributes to the further development of the theory of wh-movement
and to the general theory of movement.