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The polyfunctionality of <i>which</i> in &#214;vdalian

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Abstract

The &#214;vdalian <i>wh</i>-word <i>ukin</i> has a variety of syntactic uses, spanning from the canonical use as personal pronoun (&#8216;who&#8217;) to predicative property querying item (&#8216;what &#8230; like&#8217;) and polarity item introducing both main and embedded clauses. In this paper the various uses will be described and discussed, and it will be argued that the polyfunctionality of <i>ukin</i> can be well understood on the background of <i>wh</i>-syncretisms in other North Germanic varieties which all point in the direction of principled grammaticalization patterns in this domain. The pattern found will be accounted for by a nanosyntactic approach to lexicalization ranges.

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