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Syntax and prosodic consequences in ASL

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Abstract

This study investigates three different multiple wh-question types in American Sign Language (ASL). While the three are strikingly similar, subtle but systematic differences in their prosody make them semantically distinct. I derive these distinctions from their syntax, via extensions of Koopman and Szabolcsi’s (2000) remnant movement and Sportiche’s (1988) stranded movement, and I propose that multiple wh-questions in ASL involve Parallel Merge structures of the kind proposed by Citko (2005). I also present new generalizations to characterize their prosody, whereby A-bar movement gives rise to prosodic breaks and ‘prosodic resets’.

References

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