Jason Zentz presents at ACAL

April 7, 2015

PhD candidate Jason Zentz presented his paper Partial Wh-Movement in Shona: A Hybrid Wh-Question Formation Strategy at the 46th Annual Conference on African Linguistics (ACAL), held at the University of Oregon on March 26-28th. In the paper, Jason analyzes wh-movement in Shona, a Bantu language, as a composite of full wh-movement, as seen in languages like English, and wh-in-situ, as seen in languages like Chinese. The complete abstract for the talk is included below:

This paper addresses partial wh-movement in Shona ([sna], Bantu, Zimbabwe), which is sensitive to islands below but not above the pronunciation site of the wh-phrase. This contrasts with partial wh-movement in languages such as Kîîtharaka (Muriungi 2003, Abels 2012) and Singaporean Malay (Cole & Hermon 1998), which is sensitive to islands both below and above the pronunciation site. I argue for a composite derivation of the Shona phenomenon: the wh-phrase moves overtly to its pronunciation site at an intermediate clause boundary, where it is unselectively bound by a null operator in the scopal position.
I show that in Shona partial wh-movement, the relation between the wh-phrase’s base position and its pronunciation site patterns like full wh-movement in terms of island sensitivity, cleft structure, extraction marking, and reconstruction effects. On the other hand, the relation between the wh-phrase’s pronunciation site and its scopal position displays the same lack of island sensitivity and lack of extraction marking exhibited by wh-in-situ in this language. Thus, Shona partial wh-movement can be reduced to a hybrid of full wh-movement and wh-in-situ. This composite derivation has been predicted to be possible (Sabel 2000, Abels 2012), but clear empirical support for it has been lacking until now.
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