Vol. 6 (2020)

German wh-copying: a top-down analysis

Giuseppe Rugna
Università degli Studi di Firenze
Published September 10, 2020
  • Copy Theory of Movement,
  • German morphosyntax,
  • Successive-cyclic movement,
  • Top-Down derivation,
  • Wh-copying
How to Cite
Rugna, G. (2020). German wh-copying: a top-down analysis. Quaderni Di Linguistica E Studi Orientali, 6, 187-219. https://doi.org/10.13128/qulso-2421-7220-9700


German wh-copying is often taken to represent clear evidence for successive cyclicity and for the Copy Theory of Movement. The generative literature has focused on a particular type of wh-copying displaying morphophonological identity among the overtly realized members of the A’-chain. The present article discusses the case of two additional types of wh-copying found in German, i.e. ‘imperfect’ and ‘complex’ wh-coping. It will be argued that standard bottom-up analyses run into a few complications when extended to account for the latter types of wh-copying. A novel analysis embedded in a Top-Down derivational model of grammar is then proposed, which is argued to be conceptually as well as empirically superior over more traditional alternatives. The analysis of complex wh-copying in German is further extended to the case of Afrikaans and dialectal Dutch.


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