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Deriving “wh-in-situ” through movement in Brazilian Portuguese*

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Abstract

While languages like English have both dislocated and <i>in-situ wh-phrases</i>, but assign different status to the two types of question &#8211; ordinary questions or echo questions -, others, like French, take them as possible syntactic variants for ordinary questions. Moreover, the <i>in-situ</i> <i>wh</i>-question in French, in both ordinary question and echo question interpretations, has the same rising intonation, similar to that of a <i>yes/no</i> question. Brazilian Portuguese (BP) is another optional <i>wh-in-situ</i> language, but despite its similarities to French, a crucial difference can be found between the two: (a) French has <i>rising intonation</i> in both ordinary and echo questions, but (b) BP displays <i>falling intonation</i> if the <i>wh-in-situ</i> question is an ordinary question, and rising intonation if the <i>wh-in-situ</i> construction is an echo question.The aim of this article is to propose an analysis for BP <i>wh-in-situ</i> constructions, trying to answer the following questions: (a) how can we account for the differences between French and BP, two languages that have &#8220;optional&#8221; <i>wh</i>-movement&#63; (b) why does BP have distinct intonation patterns for the two types of <i>wh-in-situ</i> constructions: the echo and the ordinary question&#63;The following are the hypotheses and assumptions that will underlie our analysis:(a) the echo-question in BP, with rising intonation, is the real <i>in-situ</i> case, and the intonation is given by the interrogative silent operator <i>Q</i> ; (b) the ordinary <i>wh-</i>question is a <i>fake in-situ case</i>, with the <i>wh-</i> moving to a sentence internal, or vP-peripheral, <i>FocusP position</i>, in the sense of Belletti&#8217;s (2004). The occupation of this internal position by the <i>wh-</i>element assigns falling intonation to the sentence. The nature of the wh-movement explains why <i>wh-in-situ</i> is less restricted in BP than in French.

References

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