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Syntax Seminar: Vahideh Rasekhi

Jan 15, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
2122 Campbell Hall,

Two types of why in syntax: Evidence from Why-stripping in Persian

This talk is an attempt to get audience feedback on my work in progress and prepare for my presentation at “Sluicing and Ellipsis at 50”, which will be held at the University of Chicago in April.

In this work, I provide an account of why-stripping in Persian (1), in which there is a wh-phrase cherā ‘why’ and a non-wh-phrase remnant (e.g. chips).This structure looks similar to sluicing with why, as in (2), in which there is only a wh-phrase remnant cherā ‘why’The question is whether why in these constructions has the same/different properties. I argue that why in these constructions has distinct properties and the mechanism of deriving these sentences is different.

(1) Ayda  chips   khord,   vali    ne-midoon-am   cherā  CHIPS
Ayda  chips  ate.3sg  but   neg-know-1sg   why      chips
‘Ayda ate chips but I don’t know why chips (but not something else).’

(2) Ayda  chips  khord,   vali   ne-midoon-am  cherā                                                 
Ayda  chips  ate.3sg  but   neg-know-1sg   why
‘Ayda ate chips but I don’t know why.’

I propose that in why-stripping (1), why functions as ‘how come’ and is base-generated in the Spec of Int(errogative)P (Rizzi 2001), in the left periphery. On the other hand, in sluicing (2), why functions as a regular wh-phrase in wh-questions and is focus fronted to the Spec of FocP, prior to TP ellipsis.

I discuss cross-linguistic generalizations and the predictions we can make regarding the positions in which why can be base-generated across languages.


Jan 15, 2019
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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2122 Campbell Hall
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Carson Schütze
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