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Syntax

Typologie des W-Fragesatzes 


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In this article, I develop the basis for a general theory of wh-constructions that allows (a) to explain the variation found with respect to the positions of wh-phrases in single and multiple questions in the languages of the world, and (b) to distinguish between different uses of wh-phrases as question word phrases, wh-exclamatives, relative pronouns, and wh-indefinites. The analysis is based on the idea that fronting of wh-phrases applies for reasons of feature-checking, as assumed in Chomsky (1995, 2000, 2001). The features that have to be checked in wh-questions are universally, [wh]- (=[interrogative]) and [focus]-features. Typological variation with respect to single and multiple wh-questions results from the fact that it is parameterized (i) in which structural position these features are realized in a language and (ii) which of the two features triggers wh-fronting.