Vol. 7 (2021)

"Wh"-phrases and "wh"-in-situ in Late Archaic Chinese

Published September 15, 2021
  • Late Archaic Chinese,
  • Syntax,
  • Wh-in-situ,
  • Wh-phrases
How to Cite
Wang, A. (2021). "Wh"-phrases and "wh"-in-situ in Late Archaic Chinese. Quaderni Di Linguistica E Studi Orientali, 7, 155-179. https://doi.org/10.13128/qulso-2421-7220-12008


In this paper I explore wh-phrases and wh-in-situ in Late Archaic Chinese (LAC). Simplex and complex wh-phrases in LAC can be divided into eleven semantic categories. Since LAC is a wh-fronting language, wh-items undergo obligatory preposing, unless being subjects. Nonetheless, there are exceptions to the raising of non-subject wh-phrases, namely, obligatory and optional wh-in-situ. When wh-DPs function as the second complement of ditransitive verbs nai/ruo/ru ‘to treat’, or the second complement of the ditransitive verb wei ‘to call’, they must stay in their postverbal base position. In terms of optional wh-in-situ, there are two situations, i.e. wh-predicates and wh-complement of manner adverbials. When wh-DPs act as predicates indicating object/activity, person or reason, they normally do not move, yet they can move under special circumstances; when wh-VPs act as manner adjuncts, they can be base-generated pre- or postverbally, and the wh-elements in both positions undergo optional movement. Finally, I propose that wh-in-situ is correlated with ditransitive verbs per se.


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