Syntactic and phonological properties of wh-operators and wh-movement in Bavarian

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Wh-movement is less uniform than suggested by the standard theory of generative grammar. Bavarian provides evidence that word-size wh-operators have syntactic as well as phonological properties of functional heads rather than genuine phrases. At the core of the analysis is the intuition that wh-words embrace the role of the complementizer, and that as a consequence merger of a separate complementizer is suspended. Theoretical reasoning which comes to this conclusion is suggested by judgment as well as production experiments with native speakers of the language. It is argued that from the economy-driven perspective of minimalist syntax, head-style wh-movement, as supported by Bavarian syntax, should actually be the preferred choice.


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