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What's 'what' in French questions

Plunkett, B. (2000) What's 'what' in French questions. Journal of Linguistics, 36 (3). pp. 511-530. ISSN 1469-7742

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Abstract

The analysis of French ‘what’ questions poses a number of difficulties. These questions exhibit numerous peculiarities, especially when they involve a subject wh-phrase. It is argued that the anomalous paradigm derives from three independent factors. The first is linked to the general status of matrix subject wh-phrases and the position they occupy at the interface levels. The second relates to the status of que ‘what’ as a phonological clitic. The third is argued to derive from the difference between strong quoi ‘what’ and weak que with respect to specificity. Once the interaction of these factors is taken into account, the unusual paradigm is completely explained.

Item Type: Article
Academic Units: The University of York > Language and Linguistic Science (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2009 10:47
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2009 10:47
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022226700008379
Status: Published
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Identification Number: 10.1017/S0022226700008379
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6725

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