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


Explaining and Unifying Optional wh-Movement

This paper proposes that optional wh-movement is, contrary to popular belief, compatible with current Minimalist syntax. Despite the fact that the Minimalist Program eschews optionality, studies have shown that numerous wh-movement languages (French, English, Brazilian Portuguese, Greek, Spanish and more) permit grammatical non-echo in-situ questions. In order to explain this optionality, we exploit the fact that the EPP feature on interrogative C can be multi- satisfied, resulting in a syntactically formal optionality that predicts two (or more) equally economical derivational options. Alongside this, it is proposed that a question particle universally takes a wh-phrase as its complement. The satisfaction of the EPP can thus be accomplished by either raising the wh-phrase, the question particle, or the entire particle/wh-phrase complex.