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Optional Wh-Movement In Babine-Witsuwit'en


In this article, Iargue that the Athabaskanlanguage Babine-Witsuwit'enexhibits optional wh-movement.The optional fronting is shownnot to be due totopicalization, focus, or clefling.Optional movement is of theoretical interestbecause it is not permitted in theMinimalist Program. Derivations are comparedand only the most economical succeeds; thus,the optional movement outcome isnot expected, and accounting for trulyoptional movement becomes an interestingquestion. I solve this problem by allowingoptional selection of C from thelexicon. If C and its wh-featureappear in the numeration, it will promptraising of a wh-feature and itsaccompanying wh-phrase to check off thewh-feature in C. If C does notappear in the numeration, then nowh-movement takesplace. It is shown how this proposal canaccount for the position of wh-phrasesin simple, complex, and embedded questions, aswell as account for scope factsin Babine-Witsuwit'en. The role of C inother languages – its selection from thelexicon and the projection of Cby certain verbs – is also briefly discussed.

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Denham, K. Optional Wh-Movement In Babine-Witsuwit'en. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 18, 199–251 (2000).

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  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Movement Outcome
  • Optional Movement
  • Embed Question
  • Optional Front