Experimenting with <i>wh</i>-movement in Spanish

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This paper provides evidence for an analysis of subject inversion in <i>wh</i>-questions in Spanish and demonstrates that techniques of experimental syntax play an important role in developing such analyses. The techniques used show that there is gradience in judgments of <i>wh</i>-questions depending on the nature of the filler and of the intervening subject. The facts fall out from the interplay of straightforward properties of the syntax (e.g.&#160;<i>wh</i>-movement, preverbal or postverbal placement of the subject) with straightforward properties of the processor (a common pool of limited resources to process <i>wh</i>-dependencies and establish discourse referents). The analysis predicts a correlation between the Overt Pronoun Rate in any given variety and the ability of a <i>wh</i>-dependency to tolerate an intervening subject, and the difference between Caribbean and mainland Latin American Spanish confirms this.


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