Focus and reconstruction effects in wh-phrases

1998 1998

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

This dissertation investigates the semantics and LF-representation of wh-phrases by attending to two phenomena: the effect of Focus in wh-phrases and reconstructed readings ofwh-phrases.

First, I exploit the semantics of Focus to show how certain peculiarities of Sluicing follow without the need for special LF-operations, contrary to Chung-Ladusaw-McCloskey (1995). I claim that remnant wh-phrases in a sluiced interrogative clause usually bear focal stress and I define a set of alternative semantic values for a focused wh-Determiner. From this, two consequences follow: the remnant wh-phrase has to contrast with its correlate in the antecedent clause--which derives the restriction on possible correlate phrases--and the denotation of the Sluicing clause and the denotation of the antecedent clause have to be identical in certain respects--which derives the inheritance of content and islands cases.

Second, I turn to the question of whether reconstructed readings of how many phrases and which phrases derive from Syntactic Reconstruction (SynR) or from Semantic Reconstruction (SemR).

I present two challenges for the SemR account of reconstructed scope readings of how many phrases. First, numerous examples are provided that show that Principle C Connectivity correlates with reconstructed scope readings, a fact which is predicted under the SynR approach and unexpected under the SemR view. Second, I investigate reconstructed scope readings of how many phrases in VP Phonological Reduction and argue that they cannot be derived within the SemR line without generating unwelcome results.

Two lines have been pursued in the literature to capture functional readings of which phrases: the choice function approach (Reinhart (1993, 1997)), which involves SynR of the restrictor of the which-phrase, and the skolem function approach (Engdahl (1986)), which amounts to SemR. Again, it is shown that Principle C Connectivity correlates with the embedding needed for the variable to get bound, which supports the SynR approach. However, I present two problems for the current implementation of the choice function SynR line: local presupposition accommodation readings are wrongly excluded, and intensional readings cannot be derived from transparent which phrases. I propose a new architecture of choice functions that derives these new data.

Indexing (details)

0290: Linguistics
Identifier / keyword
Language, literature and linguistics; Question; Reconstruction; Wh-phrases
Focus and reconstruction effects in wh-phrases
Romero, Maribel
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 59/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780599073753, 0599073756
Kratzer, Angelika
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.