Comparative Syntactic and Semantic Study of Multiple Wh-Questions with ‘Why’ in Japanese and Chinese
The differences in the restrictions on multiple-wh-questions in Chinese and Japanese appear strange. On the one hand, at least one nominal wh-phrase (nani (‘what’) or dare (‘who’)) must precede the adverbial wh-phrase naze (‘why’) in Japanese. On the other hand, in Chinese, multiple-wh-questions are permitted only in embedded sentences, and never in monoclausal sentences. Moreover, ‘why’ takes the narrow scope, whereas nominal wh-phrases take wide scope in the semantic interpretation. In this paper, a new syntactic and semantic analysis is developed to investigate the differences between Japanese and Chinese, and the characteristics of naze.
In Japanese, wh-phrases employ covert movement. The Q (question)-operator of a nominal wh-phrase directly merges in DP/PP, and the Q-operator of the adverbial wh-phrase naze appears in Spec CP. Therefore, nominal wh-phrases and naze can coexist in monoclausal sentences. In contrast to the case in Japanese of covert movement of wh-phrases, in Chinese, feature movement is applied to wh-phrases, and the Q-operators of both nominal wh-phrases and naze are present in Spec CP. Therefore, nominal wh-phrases and naze cannot co-occur in monoclausal sentences where only one Spec CP is included. However, they can co-occur in monoclausal sentences where two Spec CPs are included.
Due to its semantic characteristics, ‘why’ cannot take other wh-questions in its scope. We also find that the above-mentioned restrictions in Japanese apply to the linear order of wh-phrases, because the preceding wh-phrases take wide scope, while these restrictions for Chinese language appear in the differences between monoclausal sentences and embedded sentences instead of the linear order.
Bulletin of the Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences, Hiroshima University. I, Studies in human sciences
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