Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL) XXIII


One of the major goals of linguistic theory is to understand the universal principles underlying the structure of linguistic expressions. Although it is best to provide the adequate empirical coverage using the smallest number of such principles, sometimes the theory can suffer from having too few principles. That is, certain contrasts in grammaticality judgments can be lost because of the great generality of the existing principles. For example, Lasnik and Saito (1992) discuss and account for such a contrast between pure Subjacency violations vs. Subjacency combined with Empty Category Principle (ECP) violations, which result in a higher degree of unacceptability. In this paper, I take a look at another such situation, namely, Superiority effects in contexts with and without T-to-C movement. I show that the current analyses of Superiority, as they are, cannot account for the contrast in grammaticality status found in these contexts. To fine-grain the system, I will explore the interaction of syntactic and semantic properties of multiple interrogatives: T-to-C movement and the availability of pair-list and single-pair readings in these constructions. Specifically, I extend the idea of equidistance via head-movement of Chomsky (1993) to the CP domain, with some modification of Chomsky’s original notions. This extension along with the consideration of the licensing conditions on single-pair readings allow for better understanding of distribution of Superiority effects crosslinguistically. The analysis has important predictions, one of which is an explanation of the absence of Superiority effects in d-linked wh-questions.

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