haspelmath at EVA.MPG.DE
Mon Mar 17 11:23:13 UTC 2008
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.
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
> 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, 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
Tel. (MPI) +49-341-3550 307, (priv.) +49-341-980 1616
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