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The Preposition Stranding Generalization And Conditions On Sluicing: Evidence From Emirati Arabic

2801 words - 12 pages

Merchant (2001) argues that sluicing is derived by IP-deletion from an underlying wh-construction at the level of PF (following Ross 1969), as shown in (1):
(1) a. Jack bought something, but I don’t know [CP whati [IP Jack bought ti]].
b. Jack talked to someone, but I don’t know [CP whoi [IP Jack talked to ti]].
Merchant proposes (2) to capture the parallelism between sluicing and wh-questions:
(2) Preposition-stranding generalization (PSG)
A language L will allow preposition stranding under sluicing iff L allows preposition stranding under regular wh-movement.
The PSG is demonstrated in (1b) in which the wh-sluice ‘who’ leaves a stranded preposition under sluicing, which corresponds to the fact that English is a P-stranding language. Merchant further demonstrates the descriptive power of the PSG by verifying its applicability to more than twenty languages. Examples drawn from other languages continue to confirm its validity (e.g. Almeida and Yoshida 2007, Stjepanović 2008, Rodrigues, Nevins and Vicente 2009, Van Craenenbroeck 2010). In this squib, I investigate Emirati Arabic (henceforth EA) in detail and argue that it provides cases in which the PSG can be falsified. In EA, while P-stranding is banned in wh-questions, sluicing is possible even when the underlying structure would contain a stranded preposition, e.g.:
(3) John ʃərab gahwa [wɪjja ħəd], bəs maa ʕərf [mənu
John drank coffee with someone but not 1.know who
John ʃərab gahwa [PP wɪjja ti]].
John drank coffee with
‘John drank coffee with someone, but I don’t know who.’
Potential counterexamples to PSG have been adduced from other languages, yet further analyses reveal that they do not involve P-stranding by wh-movement (e.g. Brazilian Portuguese, French (Rodrigues, Nevins and Vicente 2009), Serbo-Croatian (Stjepanović 2008)). At first glance EA might seem to be one such case since it possesses two types of wh-constructions, namely wh-fronting (a movement construction) and wh-clefts (a non-movement construction). For the sake of uniformity, I call the elliptical wh-construction formed by wh-fronting ‘sluicing’, and the one formed by wh-clefts ‘pseudosluicing’ (Merchant 2001). Several claims are defended in this paper. First, EA allows both sluicing and pseudosluicing. Second, sluicing and pseudosluicing are distinguished by individual lexical and morphosyntactic properties on the one hand, and the syntactic projection of the antecedent clause on the other hand. Third, I argue that the PSG is falsified even though both sluicing and pseudosluicing are at work. Lastly, I propose that in order to preserve the original insight of the PSG, its statement should be modified so that for languages in which the P-stranding constraint is defined at the level of PF, violations can be rescued by sluicing as a result of PF-deletion. That is to say, any language which parametricizes the P-stranding constraint under wh-movement as a PF-condition can salvage P-stranding...

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