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Syntactic doubling and the structure of wh-chains1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 September 2009

Meertens Institute, Amsterdam & University of Utrecht
University of Amsterdam
Meertens Institute, Amsterdam
Authors' addresses: (Barbiers) Meertens Institute, Joan Muyskenweg 25, 1090 GG Amsterdam, The
(Koeneman)Department of Dutch Language and Culture, University of Amsterdam, Spuistraat 134, 1012 VB Amsterdam, The
(Lekakou)Meertens Institute, Joan Muyskenweg 25, 1090 GG Amsterdam, The


This paper discusses cases of syntactic doubling in wh-dependencies attested in dialects of Dutch, where more than one member of the same chain is spelled out. We focus on cases of non-identical doubling, in which the chain links spelled out have different forms. We demonstrate that the order of elements in a chain is fixed: the first (or syntactically higher) one is less specific that the second one. We argue that this generalization follows from partial copying, a process that copies a proper sub-constituent and remerges it higher in the structure. This naturally excludes the ungrammatical orders, as these would involve full copying plus the addition of features, in violation of the inclusiveness condition. The proposal requires pronouns to be spell-outs of phrases, and it is in combination with this hypothesis that the full set of data is accounted for in a uniform way. Advantages over alternative accounts of syntactic doubling are discussed.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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Earlier versions of this paper (see also Barbiers et al. 2008) were presented at the 30th GLOW conference (Tromsø 2007) WCCFL 26 (Berkeley 2007) the 22nd Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop (Stuttgart 2007), the EGG school (Brno 2007) and at a workshop on wh-pronouns (Konstanz 2007). We would like to thank the audiences present at those occasions for their feedback. We also wish to express our gratitude to the following people for discussion on various aspects of this work: Ellen Brandner, Jeroen van Craenenbroeck, Jacqueline van Kampen, Marjo van Koppen, Øystein Nilsen, Andreas Pankau, Arnim von Stechow and Nelleke Strik. Finally, we thank two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments. The usual disclaimers apply.



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