Two types of wh-features

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In this paper, within the framework of the Minimalist Program, I will propose the Split Wh-feature Hypothesis, which assumes that there are two features involved in wh-movement, one relevant to interpretation at LF and the other to movement. The Split Wh-feature Hypothesis can describe two differences in wh-movement among languages. First, unlike English, languages such as German and Ancash Quechua permit a wh-phrase to partially move to Spec of declarative complementizer (partial wh-movement). Second, in contrast to English, neither Italian nor Irish allows multiple questions. In addition to these differences in wh-movement, the Split Wh-feature Hypothesis provides an account of the descriptive generalization that a wh-phrase in Spec of an interrogative complementizer cannot make any further movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-206
Number of pages18
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Apr


  • Multiple questions
  • Partial wh-movement
  • The Split wh-feature hypothesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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