A Comprehensive Analysis of Wh-Movement in Interrogative Sentences in English

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GRIN Verlag, 2009 - 56 pages
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Essay from the year 2007 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics, grade: 1,0, University of Queensland, course: Generative Syntax, language: English, abstract: This essay is going to provide an in-depth account for the phenomenon of wh-movement in English along the lines of Chomsky's Government and Binding theory (GB), a transformational approach in which wh-movement is described as constituent movement. The analysis will mainly focus on wh-movement in interrogative sentences. First, the theory of Government and Binding is being briefly presented and the term "wh-movement" is going to be defined. Subsequently, the different types of wh-movement occurring in languages are being presented together with wh-movement at LF. This introduction of the topic is going to be followed by an overview of prominent constraints that account for illicit wh-movement. The focus of analysis is going to be on Ross's (1967) island constraints and Chomsky's (1977) Subjacency. The description of wh-movement in interrogative sentences and its constraints will provide the theoretical foundation for the subsequent problem analysis: Specifically, this analysis addresses the question why there are some sentences that involve the violation of wh-islands but are acceptable for English native speakers. At the end of this essay, it is going to be briefly shown how wh-movement is being analyzed in the framework of the Minimalist Program, the successor of GB and current most prominent theory of Universal Grammar.

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