Variable pronunciation sites and types of <i>wh</i>-in-situ

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Examining data from Coptic Egyptian, the last descendant of the Ancient Egyptian language, this chapter argues for a new type of <i>wh</i>-in-situ, in which the copy privileged for phonological realization is the lowest member of the <i>wh</i>-chain, while the head of the chain as well as the intermediate copies are left unpronounced. Coptic can be described as a <i>wh</i>-in-situ language in which <i>wh</i>-clefting and <i>wh</i>-fronting are available as marked <i>wh</i>-interrogative strategies. The <i>wh</i>-insitu pattern is marked morphologically by &#8220;relative tenses&#8221;, so called because a relative marker appears in front of the tense-aspect-mood inflection. Based on their parallelism in scope and interpretation, the chapter argues that <i>wh</i>-in-situ and <i>wh</i>-fronting structures in Coptic are both derived by applications of <i>wh</i>-movement in the narrow syntax, before Spell-Out. Under this perspective, Coptic relative tenses are interpreted as a morphological instantiation of &#8220;<i>wh</i>-agreement&#8221;. It is proposed that the simultaneous pronunciation of the topmost <i>wh</i>-copy and the relative marker are prohibited by an economy filter on the morpho-syntactic encoding of <i>wh</i>-dependencies, which is reminiscent of the &#8220;Doubly-filled Comp&#8221; Filter in English. Deletion of the <i>wh</i>-element or the relative marker is then what yields the apparent distinction between <i>wh</i>-movement and <i>wh-in situ</i> constructions at the surface. Lower copy pronunciation of <i>wh</i>-elements is of particular theoretical interest, since it shows that the PF wing of the grammar permits the same range of realization sites for <i>wh</i>-chains at LF (Bo&#353;kovi&#263; and Nunes, this volume).


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