Wh-word conjunction as a test for argumenthood and obligatoriness

Paul B. Melchin, Ida Toivonen


Some wh-words are easier to conjoin than others. For example, it has been noted that adjunct wh-words are easier to conjoin than argument wh-words.  We review previous analyses of wh-word conjunction and evaluate them in light of data collected from a new acceptability judgement study. Our study replicates some previous findings but it also adds some new data to the puzzle. We further revisit the idea that wh-word conjunction can be used as a test for argumenthood, and we conclude that it can, with some caveats.  In addition, we conclude that wh-word conjunction can be used as a test for obligatoriness, but only in arguments.  The test does not distinguish between obligatory and optional adjuncts.


wh-words; argumenthood; syntax; psycholinguistics

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v3i1.4295

Copyright (c) 2018 Paul B. Melchin, Ida Toivonen

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