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Summary Details


Query:   Sum: multiple wh-XP interrogatives
Author:  Carsten Breul
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Syntax

Summary:   DEAR ALL

A BIG THANK YOU TO THE 27 PEOPLE WHO HAVE REPLIED TO MY RECENT QUERY ON MULTIPLE WH-XP INTERROGATIVES (REPEATED BELOW).

I HAVE TRIED TO CLASSIFY THE JUDGEMENTS ON A FOUR GRADE SCALE: OK, SLIGHTLY MARGINAL (?), STRONGLY MARGINAL (??-?*), UNACCEPTABLE (*). SQUEEZING THE REPLIES ONTO THIS SCALE, I GET THE FOLLOWING RESULT :

SENTENCE (1): OK: 2; ?: 3; ??-*?: 5; *: 17
SENTENCE (2): OK: 3; ?: 3; ??-*?: 3; *: 18

QUITE A NUMBER OF SPEAKERS WHO FOUND THE SENTENCES UNACCEPTABLE POINTED OUT THAT THEY ARE POSSIBLE IF PRODUCED AS A REQUEST FOR REPETITION OF SOMETHING UNHEARD. E.G., IN THE WORDS OF ONE INFORMANT:

''THE ONLY WAY I CAN GET AN O.K. READING IS IF THE CONTEXT IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, AND THE ONLY VERSION THAT WORKS FOR ME IS IF A HAS SAID ''WHAT DID [GARBLED] BRING?'', AND B REPLIES ''WHAT DID WHO BRING?''''

THIS, HOWEVER, IS NOT WHAT I WAS AFTER, ACTUALLY IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER IF I HAD EXPLICITLY RULED THIS INTERPRETATION OUT. THE BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE OF MY
QUERY WAS THIS:

I READ ABOUT MULTIPLE WH-XP INTERROGATIVES IN ERTESCHIK-SHIR (1997, ESP. 6.1-6.2), PESETSKY (1987) DORNISCH (1995; AND VIA DORNISCH ABOUT COMOROVSKI (1989)) AND BOLINGER
(1978). PESETSKY E.G. SAYS:

''[W]E MIGHT EXPECT SUPERIORITY EFFECTS [I.E. CONTRASTS OF THE KIND EXEMPLIFIED BY _WHO ATE WHAT?_ VERSUS *_WHAT DID WHO EAT_?] TO DISAPPEAR EVEN WITH _WHO_, _WHAT_, AND _HOW MANY BOOKS_, IF WE CAN FORCE THESE _WH_-PHRASES TO BE D-LINKED.'' (BOLINGER GIVES MANY EXAMPLES WHERE SUPERIORITY DOES NOT SEEM TO HOLD.)

'DISCOURSE- (D-) LINKING' MEANS THAT THE REFERENTS OF THE WH-XPS ''BE DRAWN FROM THE SETS ESTABLISHED IN THE DISCOURSE''. WHILE _WHO_, _WHAT_ ARE SAID TO BE ''NORMALLY NOT D-LINKED'', _WHICH_-NPS ARE SAID TO BE (COMOROVSKI: INHERENTLY) D-LINKED.

I WAS UNSURE IF PESETSKY MEANS THAT EACH OR ONLY THE INITIAL WH-XP IN A MULTIPLE WH-XP INTEERROGATIVE HAS TO BE (CONTEXTUALLY MADE) D-LINKED. IN MY SENTENCES (1) AND (2) IN THE CONTEXT FROM DORNISCH, IT IS ONLY THE FRONTED OBJECT WH-XP THAT IS (CONTEXTUALLY MADE) D-LINKED. IF I UNDERSTAND ERTESCHIK-SHIR CORRECTLY, THE SUBJECT WH-XP HAS TO BE (CONTEXTUALLY MADE) D-LINKED IN ANY CASE, IF THE SUPERIORITY EFFECT IS TO DISAPPEAR (A TOPIC SET HAS TO BE AVAILABLE, IN HER TERMS). THIS SEEMS TO BE SUPPORTED BY THE INFORMANTS' JUDGEMENT, FOR MOST OF THEM REJECT (1) AND (2). BUT NOTE THAT MANY OF THE INFORMANTS SUGGESTED

(3) WHO BROUGHT WHAT?
(4) WHO BROUGHT WHICH PRESENT?

AS THE CORRECT ALTERNATIVES FOR (1) AND (2). I DON'T THINK THAT 'THE GUESTS' AS A NON-INDIVIDUALISED SET QUALIFIES AS A TOPIC SET (ONLY THE SET OF INDIVIDUAL GUESTS WOULD), SO THE ACCEPTABILITY OF (3) AND (4) IS PROBLEMATIC FOR (MY UNDERSTANDING OF) E.-S. AS WELL.

BOLINGER IN HIZ (ED.), _QUESTIONS_, 1978.
DORNISCH 1995 SEE BELOW.
ERTESCHIK-SHIR, _THE DYNAMICS OF FOCUS STRUCTURE_, 1997.
PESETSKY IN REULAND & TER MEULEN (EDS.), _THE
REPRESENTATION OF (IN)DEFINITENESS_, 1987.


- -------
THE QUERY:

IN A STUDY OF THE SYNTAX OF MULTIPLE WH-XP INTERROGATIVES ESPECIALLYIN POLISH, EWA DORNISCH (''DISCOURSE-LINKING AND MULTIPLE_WH_-QUESTIONS IN POLISH'', IN GUSSMANN, E. (ED.),
_LICENSING IN SYNTAX AND PHONOLOGY_, 1995) DESCRIBES THE FOLLOWING CONTEXT FOR MULTIPLE WH-XP INTERROGATIVES:

''AFTER A'S BIRTHDAY PARTY, A AND B ARE STANDING IN FRONT OF THE TABLE ON WHICH THE GIFTS ARE PILED. B WANTS TO KNOW WHO GAVE A EACH PARTICULAR GIFT.''

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF THE FOLLOWING MULTIPLE WH-XP INTERROGATIVES ARE ACCEPTABLE FOR SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH IN THIS CONTEXT:

(1) WHAT DID WHO BRING?
(2) WHICH PRESENT DID WHO BRING?


DR. CARSTEN BREUL
UNIVERSITAET DUISBURG
FB 3; ANGLISTIK
47048 DUISBURG
GERMANY
C.BREUL@UNI-DUISBURG.DE
OR
CARSTEN.BREUL@RUHR-UNI-BOCHUM.DE

LL Issue: 10.1870
Date Posted: 04-Dec-1999
Original Query: Read original query