Multifunctionality in Syntax: Wh-type Constructions - רב־פונקציונליות בתחביר: קונסטרוקציות דמויות־שאלה

Prof. Yehuda N. Falk

Office 7812
Office Hours: Wednesdays 14:45-15:30

Semester A 2011-2: Sunday/Wednesday 12:30-14:00 Room 2504
MA Course, Linguistics Department, Generative Program

In wh-type constructions, a single element bears multiple grammatical functions. This multifunctionality is usually modeled formally as movement from the canonical position of one function to the canonical position of the other function. In this course we will explore the properties of these constructions through a direct representation of multifunctionality, without movement. We will explore islands, pied-piping, the existence of empty categories, in-situ questions, externally- and internally-headed relative clauses, accessibility, parasitic gaps, and more.

Course Outline

  1. Wh Constructions and Multifunctionality
  2. Formalism
    1. Realization
    2. Functional Uncertainty
    3. Wh-Path
    4. Direction of Licensing
  3. Constituent Structure Issues; Empty Categories
  4. Grammatical Functions
    1. Subjects
    2. Accessibility
  5. Islands
  6. "In-Situ" Constructions and "Partial Movement"
  7. Relative Clauses
  8. Parasitic Gaps

Course requirements

Final project; see link to reading below
for students taking the course as a seminar: Seminar Paper

Handouts available for downloading in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format

Note: If these don't print correctly on your printer but display properly in Acrobat, try using the "Print as image" option in Acrobat.

Syllabus [30 October]
Wh-type Constructions [30 October]
Anatomy of Wh-type Constructions [30 October]
A Formal Account [6 November]
Wanna Contraction [16 November]
"In-Situ" [28 December]
Scope Marking [1 January]
Internally Headed Relative Clauses [8 January]


The next LFG conference will be held at Udayana University, Bali, Indonesia, 28-30 June 2012.


Assigned 9 November for 16 November:

Assigned 16 November for 23 November:

Assigned 20 November for 27 November: Bouchard, Denis (1984) On the Content of Empty Categories. Dordrecht: Foris. Read pp. 47-51

Assigned 23 November for 30 November: Pullum, Geoffrey K. (1997) "The Morpholexical Nature of English to Contraction." Language 73: 79-102.

Assigned 27 November for 4 December: Falk, Yehuda N. (2007) "Do We Wanna (or Hafta) Have Empty Categories?" in Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King, eds., Proceedings of LFG07. On-line.: CSLI Publication. 184-97.

Assigned 30 November for 7 December:

Assigned 7 December for 11 December:

Assigned 11 December for 14 December: Erteschik-Shir, Nomi and Shalom Lappin (1979) "Dominance and the Functional Explanation of Island Phenomena." Theoretical Linguistics 6: 41-86. Read till p. 76

Assigned 14 December for 18 December: Falk, Yehuda (2009) "Islands: A Mixed Analysis." in Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King, eds., Proceedings of LFG09. On-line.: CSLI Publication. 261-81.

Assigned 21 December for 28 December:

Assigned 28 December for 4 January:

Assigned 4 January for 11 January: Falk, Yehuda N. (2010) "An Unmediated Analysis of Relative Clauses." in Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King, eds., Proceedings of LFG10. On-line: CSLI Publications. 207-27.

Assigned 15 January for 22 January: Falk, Yehuda N. (2011) "Multiple-Gap Constructions". in Miriam Butt and Tracy Holloway King, eds., Proceedings of LFG11. On-line: CSLI Publications. 195-214.

Reading for final paper: Falk, Yehuda N. (in preparation) "Superiority Effects"