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					                                    Wh-questions in Vietnamese
                                             NELS 35
                                    Conneticut, 22- 24 Oct. 2004
Benjamin Bruening                                                            Thuan Tran
University of Delaware                                                       University of Delaware

1.         Wh-in-situ in Vietnamese1

(1)        a.      Tân mua     ( t )?
                   Tan buy what (PART)
                   ‘What did Tan buy?’
           b.     *G Tân mua?
                   What Tan buy
                   ‘What did Tan buy?’

1.1        Two approaches to wh-in-situ

      A.        Movement

Chomsky (1973), Huang (1982): all wh-phrases in natural languages undergo movement
to clause- initial position to form an operator-variable relation. Languages differ with
respect to where this movement applies: in overt syntax or at LF.

                                 overt



(2)        a.      [ what j who i [ t i bought tj ] ]                        English

                            LF

           b.      [ g j [Tân mua t j ] ]                                    Vietnamese

                            LF

B.         Non-movement

Baker (1970), Cole and Hermon (1994), among others: A Q-morpheme as an operator in
the Comp of the interrogative clause unselectively binds all free variable in its c-
command domain.

1
  It should be noted that there are three main dialects of Vietnamese: Northern, Central and Southern
dialects. The judgments in this paper are from the second author, a speaker of the Central dialect, and three
other native speakers, of whom two are from the central part and one from the north. The particles used in
this paper are of the northern dialect, but as far as I am aware, the particles in the three dialects are different
only in form, not in function.


                                                                                                                 1
(3)     a.     [<Q i,j> [ who i t i bought whatj ] ]
        b.     [ Q i [ T n mua g i ]]

 Claim: Both strategies are used in Vietnamese.
              1.      LF movement without a question particle.
              2.      Unselective binding with a question particle.


2.      Types of wh-phrases-in-situ.

2.1     Wh-phrases in argument positions: long distance reading possible.

(4)     T n bi t ai đi New York.
        Tan know who go New York
        a.     Tan knows for which person x, x went to New York.
        b.     For which person x, Tan knows that x went to New York.

      ‘know’: selects [+WH] or [ -WH] propositions.

 Particles only occur in matrix clauses. Only the long distance reading is allowed
 in (5).


(5)     T n bi t ai đi New York t ?
        Tan know who go New York PART
        For which person x, Tan knows that x went to New York.

N ‘say’ selects [-WH] propositions. Only matrix wh-question reading is allowed. Wh-
particles are optional.

(6)     T n n i Th đ g p ai ( t )?
        Tan say Tho ASP meet who (PART)
        For which person x, Tan says Tho met x.
        *Tan says for which person x Tho met x.

       -     ‘want to know’: selects [+WH] proposition. No matrix wh-question reading
is allowed. So, wh-particles are not allowed either.

(7)     T n mu n- bi t Th đ g p ai (*t )
        Tan want know Tho ASP meet who (PART)
        Tan wonders for which person x Tho met x.
        *For which person x, Tan wonders Tho met x.

2.2 Wh-phrases in non-argument position:



                                                                                        2
Adjunct wh-p rase ‘w y’ : base-generated at Spec, CP. No long distance reading is
available.

(8)     a.    T n bi t [t i sao Th đi ew York.]
              Tan know why Tho go New York
              Tan knows for which reason x, Tho went to New York for x.
              *For which reason x, Tan knows Tho went to New York for x.
        b.    *T n bi t [Th đi ew York t i sao.]
               Tan know Tho go New York why
              Tan knows for which reason x, Tho went to New York for x.

3.      Diagnostics of Movement

 Diagnostics of LF movement show up in wh-questions without wh-particles, but
 disappear in wh-questions with wh-particles.


3.1     Subjacency Effects

3.1.1   Complex NP Constraint

(9)     a.    *Tân s th ch n i chuy n v i [NP ng b c s [CP đ ch a- b nh cho ai ] ]?
              T FUT like talk story with CL doctor ASP cure            give who
              ‘Who will Tan like to talk to the doctor who cured?’
        b.   Tân s th ch n i chuy n v i [NP ng b c s [CPđ ch a- b nh cho ai] ] t ?
              T FUT like talk story with CL doctor ASP cure        give who PART
              ‘Who does Tan like to talk to the doctor cured?’

3.1.2 Sentential Subject Constraint

(10)    a.    * [CP Ai b - đi ] s khi n cho m i- ng i b i r i?
                  Who leave FUT make give everyone embarrass
              ‘That who leaves will make everyone embarrassed?’
        b.    [CP Ai b - đi ] khi n cho m i- ng i b i r i       t ?
                Who leave make give everyone embarrass PART
              ‘That who has left made everyone embarrassed?’

3.1.3 Adjunct Island Constraint

(11)    a.    * Tân s n i- gi n [CP v     ai v      s m]?
              T FUT get angry because who leave early
              ‘Tan will get angry because who leaves early?’
        b.    Tân    n i -gi n [CP v      ai v s m] t ?
              T    get angry because who leave early PART
              ‘Tan got angry because who leaf early?’



                                                                                    3
3.2 LF Blocking Effects

 Beck (1996): LF-movement cannot cross negation or a quantifier.


                                          LF
(12)       * […X i …[ Q or eg …[ … t i         …]]]

(13)       a.    ?? Wer hat niemanden wo angetroffen?
                  Who has nobody where met
                 ‘Who didn’t meet anybody where?’
           b.    Wer hat wo     niemandem angetroffen?
                 Who has where nobody      met
                 ‘Who didn’t meet anybody where?’

In Vietnamese:

           Wh + c ng = 
            blocks question reading without wh-particles.

(14)       a.    A          th ch b ng- đ .
                 Who CUNG like football
                 ‘Everyone likes football.’
           b.    *            th ch ?
                  Who CUNG like what
                 ‘What does everyone like?’
           c.                th ch     t ?
                 Who CUNG like what PART
                 ‘What does everyone like?’

           Neg + wh = NPI
           NPI blocks question reading without wh-particle.



(15)       a.               m i T n.
                 Neg who invite Tan
                 ‘No one invites Tan.’
           b.                m i ai.
                   Neg who invite who
                 *‘Who did no one invite?’
                 ‘ o one invited anyone.’
           c.             m i      ai   t ?
                  Neg who invite who PART
                 ‘Who did no one invite?’



                                                                   4
(16)       a.        T n bi t          g p ai.
                     Tan know Neg who meet who
                     ‘Tan knows no one met anyone.’
                     *‘Who does Tan know no one met?’
           b.        T n bi t           g p a t ?
                     Tan know Neg who meet who PART
                     ‘Who does Tan know no one met?’2

    LF blocking is a constraint on movement, not on binding.


                              LF



(17)        * [ CP __              PI … wh … ]
             √ [ CP OP i           PI … wh i … ]


Conclusion:
                     Vietnamese has both LF wh- movement and unselective binding.
Similar to Pesetsky 1987: two options in English: D-linked wh-phrases don’t move and
get interpreted via unselective binding. Non-D-linked wh-phrases move.

(18)       a.        Who bought what?
           b.        *What did who buy?
           c.        Which book did which person buy?

Absence of Superiority Effect in (18c) as opposed to the presence of it in (18b): who
must move at LF but which person is bound in situ.

4.         What is the particle?

4.1.       D-linking:

Pesetsky (1987): answers are drawn from a presupposed set.


2
    Sentential negation by different particles: one blocks questions, the other does not.
           (i)       Tân không m i ai.
                     Tan Neg invite who
                     ‘For which person x, Tan did not invite x.’
                     ‘There is not any person x such that Tan invited x.’
           (ii)      Tân         m i ai.
                     Tan Neg invite who
                     *‘For which person x, Tan did not invite x.’
                     ‘There is not any person x such that Tan invited x.’




                                                                                            5
 A D-linked wh-phrase can occur without a wh-particle.


Situation:
     Suppose there are three objects for a prize won by a contestant in a game show.
     The show leader who wonders which object the winner will take will use (19a),
       not (19b).
     (19b) would be felicitous in a situation where the contestant has made his choice
       already and the enquirer (for example, an audience) wonders which was chosen.

Hence, wh-particles are not required in D-linking contexts.

(19)        a.     Anh ch n c i n o?
                   you choose Cl which
                   ‘Which do you choose?’
            b.     ?#Anh ch n c i n o t ?
                     you choose Cl which PART
                   ‘Which do you choose?’

          Non-D-linked context can have a wh-particle.


Situation:     A pedestrian sees a policeman in the middle of a noisy crowd. He comes
over and asks the policeman.

(20)         Chuy n g x y ra t ?
             story what happen PART
            ‘What happened?’

Conclusion:

           wh-particles not D-linking.

4.2         Discourse-related: Realis vs. Irrealis

Wh-particles encode realis mood: Presuppose event’s occurrence.

 Wh-particles presuppose the existence of the entities described by the wh-phrases
 and encode realis mood.


Situation: A sees Tan is talking to a person, and asks B who it is. (21a) is felicitous; (21b)
is unacceptable. If A wants to know about Tan’s plan, that is, who Tan is going to talk to,
then (21c) is felicitous.




                                                                                           6
(21)    a.      T n đang n i chuy n v i ai t ?                                  Realis
                Tan ASP talk story with who PART
                For which person x, Tan is talking to x.
        b.      ???T n đang n i chuy n v i ai?
                   Tan ASP talk story with who
                For which person x, Tan is talking to x.
        c.      T n s n i chuy n v i ai?                                        Irrealis
                Tan ASP talk story with who
                For which person x, Tan will talk to x.

Situation: A enters and sees B is watching TV. A asks B what he is watching. (22a) is
felicitous; (22b) unacceptable. If A wants to know what B plans to watch later, then (22c)
is felicitous.

(22)    a.      (Anh) đang xem g t ?                                            Realis
                 (you) ASP watch what PART
                For which x, you are watching x.
        b.      ???? (Anh) đang xem g ?
                      (you) ASP watch what
                For which x, you are watching x.
        c.      T i nay anh đ nh xem g ?                                        Irrealis
                tonight you plan watch what
                For which x, you intend to watch x tonight.

A contrast between past and non-past: Particles for past and no particles for non-past?
NO. Consider the following.

Imagine an interview where subjects are asked about a famous person, for example, about
the British Queen. The interviewer wants to know who would have suffered most if the
Queen had passed away two years ago, and who will suffer most if she passes away next
year.

(23)    a.    Ai vô-c ng đau-kh n u- nh         Ho ng qua đ i c ch-đ y hai năm (*th )?
            who endless hurt suffer if as Queen       pass life ago    two year PART
           ‘Who would have suffered most if the Queen had passed away two years ago?’
        b.    Ai s vô- c ng đau- kh n u- nh sang năm              Ho ng qua đ i (* th )?
            who ASP endless hurt suffer if as come year Queen         pass life PART
             ‘Who will suffer most if the Queen passes away next year?’

In (23a) the hypothetical event is in the past, and that in (23b) is in the future. Yet, the use
of the particle is ungrammatical in both sentences because both are irrealis (conditional).

Is the occurrence of wh-particles optional? Back to examples (1), (4) and (5) repeated
here as 24a,b,c respectively.




                                                                                              7
(24)    a.       Tân mua      ( t )?
                 Tan buy what (PART)
                 ‘What did Tan buy?’
        b.       T n bi t ai đi New York.
                 Tan know who go New York
                 i.     Tan knows for which person x, x went to New York.
                 ii.    For which person x, Tan knows that x went to New York.
        c.       T n bi t ai đi New York t ?
                 Tan know who go New York PRT
                  For which person x, Tan knows that x went to New York.

(24a) with a particle presupposes that Tan bought something, without a particle, no
presupposition of the event at all. Similarly, (24c) presupposes that Tan knows, but (24b)
does not.

4.2.4 D-linked wh-phrases.

D-linked wh-phrases improve in islands even without wh-particles.

 Situation: Suppose at a book fair, any reader can meet their favorite author. A asks B
about Tan. B’s answers must be either the whole sentence as in (26a) or the whole island
as in (25b). (25c) is not felicitous.

(25)

A.      T n s g p [NP ng i [CP đ vi t quy n s ch n o ]]?
        Tan ASP meet human           ASP write Cl book which
        ‘Tan will meet the person who wrote which book?’
B.      a      Anh y s g p [NP ng i [CP đ vi t quy n s ch b y tr n qu y           Z]]
               he    will meet human        ASP write Cl book display on counter Z
               ‘He will meet the person who wrote the book displayed on counter Z.’
         b.   [NP g i [CP đ vi t quy n s ch b y tr n qu y Z.]]
                    human ASP write CL book display on counter Z
               The person who wrote the book displayed on counter Z.
         c.    *Quy n s ch b y tr n qu y Z.
               The book displayed on counter Z.3

Suggestion:

Pied-piping effect (Nishigauchi, 1986): wh-movement moves the entire island that
contains a wh-phrase to the operator position of the matrix clause as well as the wh-
phrase, which moves within the relative clause.
This explains the contrast with a single -word answer in the case of islands with particle
shown in (26)

3
 The judgment is not consistent among native speakers as to the grammaticality of (25c). However,
everyone prefers (25a,b) to (25c).


                                                                                                    8
(26)     A.     T n th ch n i chuy n v i [NP ng b c s [CP [IP đ ch a b nh cho ai] ] t ?
                Tan like talk story with CL doctor           ASP cure give who PART
                ‘Who does Tan like to talk to the doctor who has cured?’
         B.     Mary.
                ‘Mary’

5.       Interim conclusion.

        LF movement applies when wh-questions are not accompanied by wh-particles.
                a.      non-D-linked: wh-phrase moves.
                b.      D-linked in certain islands: pied-pipes island.
        Unselective binding applies when wh-questions are accompanied by wh-particles.

6.       Embedded Questions.

(27)     a.     [T n s   mua [NP ng i nh [CP m ai đ        x y d ng ]]*(t )]?
                 Tan ASP buy      Cl house REL who ASP build              PART
                ‘Who will Tan buy the house that built?’
         b.    [ an mu n bi t [CP T n s mua ng i nh m ai đ           x y d ng (* t )]]
                Lan want know Tan ASP buy Cl house REL who ASP build             PART
                ‘ an wants to know who Tan will buy the house that built.’

        Island constraints are always absent from embedded questions.
        Yet, embedded Qs never have an overt particle.
        Additionally, why would a discourse particle associated with realis mood also be
         an unselective binder?

Following a suggestion from S. Tomioka, we propose that the Q binder is always null,
but needs to be licensed by an overt X 0:

        Embedded Qs: licensed by higher V.
        Matrix Qs: licensed by overt discourse particles.

     (28)       Null Q licensing

     a. Embedded.                                             b.Matrix

                VP                                             XP

         V0
                        CP                               CP              PART

                                  IP                              IP




                                                                                            9
7. Conclusion

a. Two approaches:
    LF movement without a question particle.
    Presence of null Q licensed by a question particle: Unselective binding.

b.     No correlation between unselective binding and D-linking: wh-particles do not D-
link wh-phrases, but license the unselective binder.

c.     Universal role for D-linking: wh-phrase does not move by itself.


References

Beck, S (1996) ‘Quantified Structures as Barriers for F Movement,’ Natural Language
       Semantics 4, 1-56
Chomsky, oam (1977), ‘On WH-Movement,’ In Peter Culicover, Thomas Wason, and
Cole, Peter, and Gabriella Hermon (1998), ‘The Typology of Wh-Movement:
       Wh-Questions in Malay,’ Syntax 1: 221-258.
Comorovski, Ileana (1996), Interrogative Phrases and the Syntax-Semantics Interface,
Kluwer, Dordretcht.
Diesing, Molly, (1992), Indefinites, MIT.
  nh-H a, guy n, (1997), Vietnamese, John Benjamins Publishing Co. The Netherlands
       & USA
Nishigauchi, Taisuke, (1986) Quantification in Syntax, Ph.D dissertation, University of
Massachusetts Amherst.
Pesetsky, David (1987), ‘Wh-in-Situ: Movement and Unselective Binding,’ in Eric
       Reuland and Alice ter Meulen (eds.), The Representation of (In)definiteness, MIT
       Press, Cambridge, Mass., pp. 98 -129.
Reinhart, Tanya (1998), Wh-In-Situ in the Framework of the Minimalist Program,
Natural Language Semantics, 6: 29-56.
Tomioka, S (2004), Pragmatics of LF Intervention Effects Are Topic Effects, ms.
University of Delaware.
Tomioka, Satoshi (2004), Personal communication.




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