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The Grammar of Q: Q-Particles, Wh-Movement, and Pied-Piping (Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax)

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  • ISBN-13: 9780195392265
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Release Date: Sep 03, 2010
  • Edition: 1
  • Pages: 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.45 x 9.5 inches


The Grammar of Q puts forth a novel syntactic and semantic analysis of wh-questions, one that is based upon in-depth study of the Tlingit language, an endangered and under-documented language of North America. A major consequence of this new approach is that the phenomenon classically dubbed "pied-piping" does not actually exist.

Cable begins by arguing that wh-fronting in Tlingit does not involve a syntactic relationship between interrogative C and the wh-word. Rather, it involves a probe/Agree relation between C and an overt "Q-particle" (or "Q") c-commanding the wh-word. Fronting of the wh-word in Tlingit is a mere by-product of fronting the QP projected by this Q. From this core observation, he develops a syntax and semantics for Tlingit wh-questions.

Given the strong similarity between the wh-constructions of Tlingit and those of more widely studied languages, Cable applies his analysis to a range of other languages and finds that such a "Q-based" theory holds a number of interesting consequences in syntax and semantics.

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