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A syntactic study of WH-Movement in Egyptian Arabic within the Minimalist Program

Gad, Rehab Farouk Gad Alsayed (2011) A syntactic study of WH-Movement in Egyptian Arabic within the Minimalist Program. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Since Chomsky (1964) and Ross (1967), wh-movement has received considerable attention in the literature. One of the cross-linguistic phenomena that has appeared in recent works on wh-movement is the issue of optionality - a situation whereby languages allow both wh-movement and wh-in-situ strategies. This thesis aims to investigate the syntax ofwh-questions in one of the optional whmovement languages, namely, Egyptian Arabic (henceforth EA). It examines whfronting and wh-in-situ strategies which the grammar of EA employs to form whquestions. The theoretical framework within which this study is conducted is the Minimalist Program (henceforth MP) as proposed and developed by Chomsky (1995). The major claim of this study is that EA is mainly a wh-in-situ language whereby wh-phrases are interpreted and assign scope in their base-generated (i.e. in situ) positions. I propose that EA wh-phrases carry weak [wh] features, hence they cannot be attracted to the C-domain. This is why wh-movement of the English type does not take place. The only movement involved in the derivation of the whquestions in situ is the covert movement of a functional category (an operator) which carries the [wh] feature. Thus, wh-phrases in situ are licensed and assign scope via LF movement of formal features to the Spec CP position: a type of movement allowed in the MP. The question remains for the cases where wh-phrases are fronted. I claim that movement in EA is triggered by a feature other than the [wh] feature required for clausal typing, and that wh-phrases appear in a projection other than the CP projection which normally hosts wh-phrases in wh-movement languages such as English. The present study argues that the fronting of wh-phrases in EA is the result of Focus movement, which is triggered on a par with wh-movement. Focus movement involves the movement of wh-phrases to the Spec of Focus projections (FocusPs).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds) > Linguistics & Phonetics (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.540560
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2014 12:30
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2014 12:30
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5397

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