Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

E-mail this page 1

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Dissertation Information

Title: Unifying Optional Wh-movement Add Dissertation
Author: Norman Yeo Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of York, Department of Language and Linguistic Science
Completed in: 2010
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Director(s): George Tsoulas

Abstract: This thesis puts forward a theory that attempts to unify optional wh-movement within the Minimalist framework. Optionality is generally problematic for a theory of Minimalist syntax: movement, when motivated, must occur. This thesis argues that having a wh-movement language does not strictly entail that wh-phrases appear fronted in surface syntax. Essentially, the formal optionality of wh-movement is predicted to fall out via the multiple satisfaction of the EPP. Wh-movement languages all possess equally economical options to leave wh-phrases in-situ without a need to postulate an optional EPP feature or multiple grammars. There are three core pillars to the theory proposed. First, the QuP hypothesis proposes that universally, a question particle Qu, which is seen to be a variable over choice functions, takes a wh-phrase as its complement to form a larger constituent. Second, it is proposed that the principle driving force of optional movement lies in the Featural Subset Hypothesis. The FSH proposes that the EPP is not parasitic on Agree; rather, the EPP along with other features can be arranged into a subset configuration. Depending on the configuration, three types of equally economical movement can result: spec-raising, head movement, or phrasal movement. The third pillar of the theory is the notion of Q-migration, as first developed in Hagstrom (1998). The concept of Q-migration is heavily adapted, redeveloped and formalised, appealing to a combination of m-merger (Matushansky 2006), reprojective movement (Donati 2006) and a new proposed principle of L(abel)-absorption, which allows the transformation of specifiers into adjuncts. The main purpose of Q-migration is to obviate island barriers in order to allow elements within the island, in this case Qu, to escape, yielding the correct interpretation of wh-in-situ elements within islands. The theory is then applied to a variety of languages and especially applied in accounting for the optional wh-movement facts in Singapore English, a contact language with heavy Chinese substrate influence, for which new and original data will be presented.