AuthorGinsburg, Jason Robert
Committee ChairKarimi, Simin
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThere has been a great deal of work examining the structures of yes/no and wh-constructions that has led to many important developments in linguistic theory. In this dissertation, I extend this work by developing a theory that explains how the behavior of Qu-morphemes (question morphemes) and wh-phrases in interrogative constructions in several different languages is influenced by `interrogative features.' The interrogative features are 1) a Qu-feature, which is responsible for typing a clause as an interrogative, 2) a wh-feature, which is responsible for giving a wh-phrase scope, and 3) a Focus-feature, which is responsible for focusing certain relevant phrases. The main focus of this work is on explaining the influence of these interrogative features on the positions of question morphemes and wh-phrases. In the first part of this work, I examine the behavior of Qu-morphemes. I account for why a Qu-morpheme must appear in the clause periphery in certain languages, such as Japanese, whereas it can appear in a non-clause-peripheral position in other languages, such as Sinhala. I explain how a Qu-feature associated with a Qu-morpheme types a clause and why there is variation in the positions of Qu-morphemes. The second part of this work focuses on the behavior of wh-phrases. I account for why wh-constructions can be formed with an in-situ wh-phrase (for example, in Japanese), with movement of a wh-phrase to a scope position (for example, in English), or with movement of a wh-phrase to a non-scopal position (for example, in some dialects of German). I also examine other phenomena involving wh-phrases. I show how wh-feature movement can influence well-formedness of a wh-construction. I explain why, in certain cases, what would normally be an ill-formed construction can be repaired via the addition of a wh-phrase. I examine why some languages, but not others, allow multiple wh-constructions. Lastly, I investigate the odd behavior of the wh-phrase 'why,' which behaves differently from other wh-phrases. This work is novel in that it provides a unified analysis of cross-linguistic and language internal variation in the structures of yes/no and wh-constructions.