multiple wh-questions

Bakker, D. D.Bakker at UVA.NL
Tue Mar 18 12:47:29 UTC 2008


Dear all,
 
No problem to say in dutch:
 
Het kan me niet schelen wie wat aan wie heeft verteld maar ...
'I don't care who has told what to whom but ...'
 
In case of only two wh-words, I guess the standard would be
as in English, i.e. via coordination:
 
Het kan me niet schelen wie het heeft verteld, en aan wie
'I don't care who has told it, and to whom' 
 
cf.
??Het kan met niet schelen wie het aan wie heeft verteld
'I don't care who has told it to whom'
 
Het kan me niet schelen wie het heeft verteld, en waarom
'I don't care who has done it, and why''
 
cf.
*Het kan met niet schelen wie het waarom heeft gedaan
'I don't care who has done it why'
 
Maybe the status of the wh-constituent - argument or attribute - 
plays a role in Dutch as well.
 
Best,
 
Dik
 
 
 
Dik Bakker 
Dept. of General Linguistics 
Universities of Amsterdam & Lancaster
tel (+44) 1524 64975 & (+31) 20 5253864
http://home.medewerker.uva.nl/d.bakker/
 
Societas Linguistica Europaea 
Secretary/Treasurer
http://www.societaslinguistica.eu/

________________________________

From: Discussion List for ALT on behalf of matthews at HKUCC.HKU.HK
Sent: Tue 18/03/2008 12:09
To: LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG
Subject: Re: multiple wh-questions



Dear all,
Martin's multiple concessive wh- is productive in Cantonese, e.g.

 mou4leon6 lei5 hai2 bin1dou6 gong2 mat1je5 waa2...
 no.matter you  at   where    speak what language
"No matter what language you are speaking where..."

According to Matthews & Yip (1994:336), multiple wh is especially common in
indirect questions, and the concessive mou4leon6 "no matter" essentially selects
an indirect question as its complement. How about English?

  ?No matter what language you are talking to who(m)...

seems marginally okay although in formal speech I would prefer a conjunction
structure as in:

  No matter what language you are talking or to who(m)...

and with a wh-phrase as the subject it seems fine:

  No matter who says what...
  No matter which student studies what language...

Stephen


Quoting Martin Haspelmath <haspelmath at EVA.MPG.DE>:

> Dear Edith,
>
> There seems to be a fairly extensive generative literature on this
> topic, which I think is definitely worth looking at. But you are right,
> we are only just beginning to investigate the various restrictions on
> multiple parametric questions from a cross-linguistic perspective.
>
> Incidentally, multiple wh-relative clauses are also attested (and
> discussed e.g. by Christian Lehmann in his 1984 "Der Relativsatz", p.
> 341-345). And in my Lezgian grammar, I also mention multiple parametric
> concessive conditional clauses of the type "Whatever letters she writes
> to whomever, she doesn't get any answers" (1993:399). I haven't seen
> this latter type anywhere else, but I doubt that Lezgian is the only
> language that allows it.
>
> Martin
>
> Edith Moravcsik wrote:
> > A doctoral student here at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is
> > carrying out a crosslinguistic survey of multiple wh-questions. So far
> > we have not found much published material on the topic. If you are
> > able to provide either data or literature references, this would be
> > much appreciated.
> > 
> > The following are the basic research questions.
> > 
> > 1/ SELECTION OF MULTIPLE WH-WORDS
> >    What wh-words can cooccur in a question? There are clearly some
> > constraints here; for example, in English, (some) wh-words that are
> > verb complements can cooccur but adjuncts resist the pattern; compare
> > "Who read what?" but "*Who read the book why?"
> > 
> > 2/ THE LINEAR ORDER OF MULTIPLE WH-WORDS RELATIVE TO THE REST OF THE
> > SENTENCE
> >     Are multiple wh-words "in situ" or do they occupy some other position?
> > 
> > 3/ THE LINEAR ORDER OF MULTIPLE WH-WORDS RELATIVE TO EACH OTHER
> >    Do multiple wh-words that are not "in situ" have a preferred or
> > required order relative to each other?
> > 
> > 4/ DO MULTIPLE WH-QUESTIONS ALWAYS HAVE A DISTRIBUTIVE INTERPRETATION?
> >    For example, English "Who read what?" assumes more than one subject
> > and more than one things to read and asks about the distribution of
> > the reading materials over the set of subjects.
> > 
> > 5/ WHAT DOES IT DEPEND ON WHETHER A LANGUAGE DOES OR DOES NOT HAVE
> > MULTIPLE WH-QUESTIONS?
> >    This is a question about typological implications linking mutliple
> > wh-questions to other properties of languages.
> > 
> > Thank you.
> > 
> > Edith A. Moravcsik
> > Professor of Linguistics
> > Department of Foreign
> >      Languages and Linguistics
> > University of Wisconsin-
> >      Milwaukee
> > Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413
> > E-mail: edith at uwm.edu <mailto:edith at uwm.edu>
> > Tel: (414) 229-3068
> > Fax: (414) 229-2741
>
>
> --
> Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at eva.mpg.de)
> Max-Planck-Institut fuer evolutionaere Anthropologie, Deutscher Platz 6      
> D-04103 Leipzig     
> Tel. (MPI) +49-341-3550 307, (priv.) +49-341-980 1616
>
> Glottopedia - the free encyclopedia of linguistics
> (http://www.glottopedia.org <http://www.glottopedia.org/> )
>


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