Wh-movement, interpretation, and optionality in Persian

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We examine the syntactic behavior of wh-arguments and wh-adjuncts in Persian, a wh-in-situ language that exhibits (seemingly) optional wh-movement. We show that the two types of wh-phrases have distinct internal structures that are responsible for their different syntactic behavior. The analysis indicates that wh-movement has an effect on the semantic output of the derivation, and thus wh-scrambling is not a semantically vacuous operation. We finally show that the wh-feature must be in a local Agree relation with a wh-operator in Spec/CP to allow scope marking and sentence typing. This last claim predicts that an intervening polarity item would block the Agree relation, a prediction that is borne out empirically.


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