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Title: WH-questions in Bulgarian: Evidence for [focus] movement in a Feature Based Syntactic Theory
Authors: Iovtcheva, Snejana P.
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Slavic Languages
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Syracuse University
Abstract: The paper analyzes the multiple wh-fronting (MWF) structure of Bulgarian by proposing an alternative account to Boškovič’s (1998) and Lambova’s (2001) move-toSpecCP analysis. The paper assumes that wh-phrases target a preverbal focus position, which is the SpecTP in line with Izvorski,s (1995) analysis of the Bulgarian TP and Motapanyane’s (1997) proposal of a [focus+tense] featural complex in Romanian. The apparent V2 order, Superiority effects, and Pair-list interpretation (PL) of the multiple wh-phrases are analyzed in terms of language-specific principles: (i) The subject-verb inversion in wh-question is analyzed in terms of a VP-internal subject (Izvorski 1995); (ii) the selective Superiority effects are analyzed as being the result of the highest wh-phrase moving to a Topic position that is lower than CP and adjoins to the left of TP (Jaeger 2004); (iii) the exclusive PL interpretation is analyzed as being the result of [Q] generated in T, instead of generated in C (Grebenyova 2003). It is argued that the new clausal structure and the proposed analysis allows for a unified account on the Bulgarian wh-structure as it enables us to capture the distribution of focalized constituents in declaratives, interrogatives, and in yes/no questions in both root and embedded contexts. In addition, by proposing a focus-driven movement instead of a wh- movement, we are able to explain the different behavior of relative pronouns and whphrases in Bulgarian as the former targets the SpecCP and doesn’t trigger subject-verb inversion, while the latter targets the [focus]-licensing position and triggers a complementary distribution between focalized wh-phrases and a focalized subject. In other words, the crosslinguistic variation of MWF structures should not be linked to lexical movement to SpecCP, but rather analyzed as a result of the distribution of language-specific options: such as the structural position of [Q], the option of VP-internal subjects, the existence and the position of Topic, and the type of the functional head that can host [focus].
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