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Syntax Interface Lectures Utrecht


15 November 2018
16:00 - 17:00
Muntstraat 2A, room 1.11 (Stijlkamer)

Tanja Temmerman (Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles / KU Leuven)

When the sluice doesn’t come alone. On the syntax of WH+non-WH sluicing in Dutch.


This talk focuses on Dutch sluicing constructions in which the WH-remnant is followed by one or more non-WH-elements (of different types, such as DPs, adverbs, particles, quantifiers, …). Some relevant attested examples are given in (i):


(i) a. Mag ik morgen een vrije dag nemen? – Waarom morgen?

may I tomorrow a free day take – why tomorrow

b. Ik heb een lijst van 10 spelers die weg moeten. – Wie allemaal?

I have a list of 10 players who away must – who all

c. Ik wil daar nu niet over praten. – Wanneer wel?

I want there now not over talk – when AFF

d. Carlo zit in de wijnkelder. – Waar anders?

Carlo sits in the wine-cellar – where else

e. Dat begreep ik wel hoor! – Wie niet dan?

that understood I AFF PRT – who not then


Although some of these examples have already been mentioned in the literature on Dutch ellipsis, a systematic overview and analysis has not yet been given.

The primary goal of this talk is to analyze the syntactic derivations of Dutch WH+non-WH sluicing constructions. Through a detailed study of their properties, I argue that several types of these sluices should be distinguished and, hence, that their syntax differs. I discuss both Move-and-Delete accounts of sluicing (e.g., Merchant 2001; van Craenenbroeck 2005,2010; Nevins 2008; Lasnik 2013; Ortega-Santos et al. 2014) and alternative analyses in terms of extreme phonological reduction / selective spell-out (e.g., Chomsky & Lasnik 1993; Ott & Struckmeier 2018; Broekhuis & Bayer 2018).

Secondly, I will also touch upon the issue of the structure of the ellipsis site in these WH+non-WH sluicing constructions. Starting out from the taxonomy of sluicing put forward in Vicente (2018), I argue that Dutch WH+non-WH sluicing sites do not uniformly have the structure of a regular WH-question, isomorphic to the antecedent. Often, the ellipsis site turns out to be non-isomorphic (cf. a cleft or copular clause). While this is certainly not a new idea, it is striking, though, that some WH+non-WH sluicing constructions seem to have a non-isomorphic ellipsis site that does not immediately fit Vicente’s (2018) sluicing taxonomy.