S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 43 Number 1/2 (2007)
The Syntax of Wh-expressions as Variables in Thai
- Ruangjaroon, Sugunya
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.43 No.1, pp. 77-147
- probe-goal relation; Q[wh] probe; Neg probe; Q[polarity] probe; match c-command relation; locality conditions
- This paper presents an in-depth examination of Thai wh-expressions as variables. I claim that wh-expressions are variables with no inherent interrogative force. As variables, they acquire different interpretations in different contexts. A syntactic relation between the operator and the variable is implemented in terms of the probe-goal relation (Chomsky 2000). The probegoal relation is established by the operation of Match. In Thai, a goal (as a variable) is "underspecified" for featural content. A feature specified on the probe is copied onto the underspecified goal, thereby satisfying feature matching. In wh-contexts, the probe is identified as a covert interrogative Q[ᴡh]. The [wh] feature of the probe Q is copied onto the underspecified goal. I argue that the probe-goal relation is established via Match (without Move). The covert Q[ᴡh] probe is base-generated in C. In the context of negation, a goal matches the [neg] feature on the Neg probe, hence functioning as a Negative Polarity Item (NPl). In a yes-no construction, the goal matches the [polarity] feature on the Q[polarity] probe, functioning as an Existential Polarity Item (EPl). The probe-goal relation is predictably constrained by the c-command relation and locality conditions.