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Multiple wh-words

From:Thomas Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Monday, February 28, 2005, 0:59
Ph.D. wrote:
> I find nothing wrong with "Whom did who see?" I'm sure I've > said that question myself, with an emphasis on "who."
Ah, but there's a catch: we must distinguish between so-called echo-questions and regular wh-questions. Thus, English is not normally considered a wh-in-situ language like Japanese or Chinese, but we can get wh-words in situ if they are echo questions: A: "You'll never guess: of all people, John saw Mary at the library today." B: "John saw WHO at the library?!?" Importantly, without this particular marked kind of discourse, the sentence spoken by B, without emphasis, is ungrammatical. So, the interesting thing is that in German, even not in echo questions, it is according to some native speakers possible to say "Wen liebt wer?" ("Whom loves who?"). English can't do the equivalent. I'm not at all sure how common these kinds of superiority effects are cross-linguistically; most likely, it would be impossible to do the research, because grammar-writers simply don't look for them. ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637


Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>