, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 249-287

On the operator freezing effect

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Based on a number of operations creating operator-variable chains, namely, wh-movement, focalization, topicalization, quantifier raising, and the NPI-licensing movement, the article argues that operators in operator-variable chains cannot undergo further operator movement. It is shown that the generalization in question can be deduced from Chomsky’s (2000, 2001a) Activation Condition. The article also discusses the contexts where Bulgarian, a multiple wh-fronting language, allows extraction out of wh-islands. A new generalization is proposed regarding the ability of languages like Bulgarian to violate the Wh-Island Constraint in the contexts in question, which dissociates it from multiple wh-fronting and ties it to a property of D, in particular, availability of affixal articles.

For helpful comments and suggestions, I thank Marcel den Dikken, two NLLT reviewers, the participants of my seminars at the University of Connecticut, and the audiences at the European Conference on Formal Description of Slavic Languages 6 (Potsdam) and 7 (Leipzig). For help with the data, I am particularly grateful to Simona Herdan, Dalina Kallulli, Mariana Lambova, Christer Platzack, Roumyana Pancheva, Yael Sharvit, Halldór Ármann Sigurðsson, Roumyana Slabakova, Penka Stateva, and Tarald Taraldsen.