Linguistic Analysis

A research journal devoted to the publication of high quality articles in formal phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. In continuous publication since 1976. ISSN: 0098-9053


wh-in situ & wh-doubling in Northern Italian Varieties: Against Remnant Movement

In this article we address the remnant movement analysis of wh-in situ in Northern Italian varieties (Pollock, Munaro and Poletto 1999, 2001, Poletto and Pollock 2004a, 2004b, 2009), beginning with a review of the empirical evidence that it has been taken to account for. Based on data from Lombard varieties, we argue that wh-in situ is not necessarily restricted to root contexts (section 3.1) and it does not necessarily display sensitivity to islands (section 3.2). When it comes to wh-doubling (section 3.3), while wh-clitics are restricted to the left periphery, non-clitic wh-phrases equally distribute at the left periphery and in situ. We conclude that remnant movement is (at best) unnecessary to account for such evidence (section 4). Therefore we propose that the parameter between wh-in situ and wh-movement in Northern Italian varieties is the classical one between overt scope (i.e., wh-movement) and scope construal (i.e., wh-in situ). As for wh-doubling we conclude that it is restricted to pairs of bare wh-elements, of which the lower bears Focus properties, while the higher one is the scope marker. No role, even a descriptive one, is played by the notion of “weak” wh-pronouns.