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The derivation and interpretation of left peripheral discourse particles*

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Abstract

German discourse particles are known to appear in clause-medial position and to resist displacement to the left or to the right. Nevertheless, there seems to be an exception: discourse particles in interrogatives can be moved to the left as a consequence of forming a constituent with a <i>wh</i>-phrase. In this paper, we focus on such cases of co-constituency of discourse particles and <i>wh</i>-elements in German <i>wh</i>-questions. We propose a successive-cyclic movement account for their distribution. Relying on the combination of key aspects of the Minimalist Program, we present a derivational model that also accounts for cases of stacked particles as they may appear in the left clausal periphery. We then turn to the interpretation of these configurations. In comparison with constructions in which the particle stays in situ, we notice an interpretive distinctness that requires the notion of emphasis for intensity to account for the extra pragmatic effect that these left peripheral structures convey.

References

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