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The periphery of vP in the theory of wh-in situ

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Bonan Caterina,
Project The fine structure of Romance interrogative it-clefts
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
Publisher Open Library of the Humanities
Volume (Issue) 6(1)
Page(s) 1 - 43
Title of proceedings Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
DOI 10.16995/glossa.5714

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


This article outlines an implementation of Cable’s (2010) Grammar of Q that takes into account the role played by the periphery of vP, hitherto unexplored in this framework. Empirically, what I offer is a new example, in a new language family, of a known manifestation of wh-in situ: I indeed argue that Trevisan, a Northern Italian dialect, displays compulsory clause-internal focus movement of both wh-elements and contrastive foci. Theoretically, I use the Trevisan data to present a new, tweaked application of previously proposed approaches whereby wh-elements do not contribute to clause-typing and Q-particles are cross-linguistically needed in the computation of answer-seeking wh-questions. My claim is that wh-in situ languages are characterised not only by language-specific choices between projection and adjunction of Q and overt vs covert movement of Q, but also in terms of the loci where the features relevant to wh-questions, [q] and [focus], are checked: while some languages check both in C (‘feature bundling’), others make use of the clause-internal vP-periphery to check [focus] (‘feature scattering’). The theory developed in this article provides an innovative understanding of the mechanisms involved in Northern Italian wh-in situ: what it offers is a novel, economic understanding of the morphosyntax of this question-formation strategy that reduces all core properties to different combinations of the setting of simple, universal micro-parameters related to interrogative wh-movement.