Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 589–638

Cartography and licensing of wh-adjuncts: a cross-linguistic perspective

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11049-008-9047-z

Cite this article as:
Stepanov, A. & Tsai, WT.D. Nat Language Linguistic Theory (2008) 26: 589. doi:10.1007/s11049-008-9047-z


This article has two major foci. The first concerns the ‘cartography’ of structural placement of wh-adjuncts how and why, a somewhat elusive and murky issue in modern syntactic research. The non-trivial character of this issue becomes clear once it is realized that each of these items encodes more than one lexical entry in some languages, and, furthermore, different lexical entries display different syntactic distribution. One goal is then to characterize the syntactic distribution of how and why controlling for their different cross-linguistic varieties. Once the “cartographical” issue is clarified, a number of novel questions arise concerning the mode of licensing of different varieties of how and why. This brings us to the second, theoretical, focus of the paper: a proper mechanism for licensing wh-in situ, and, in a broader sense, wh-items lower than CP. On the basis of diverse cross-linguistic material, we provide a number of arguments strengthening the Unselective Binding approach to licensing wh-in situ and show how potential challenges can be met in a revealing and explanatory manner.


Wh-adjunct Wh-movement Superiority Unselective binding Intervention effect Russian Chinese 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of KonstanzKonstanzGermany
  2. 2.Graduate Institute of LinguisticsNational Tsing Hua UniversityHsinchuTaiwan

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