University of California, Berkeley
Eastern Cham optional wh-movement is DC-movement
Eastern Cham (Austronesian: Vietnam) is a wh-in situ language, but wh-phrases can in some cases be moved to the left periphery, resulting in apparently optional wh-movement. It has been claimed that no language exhibits true optional wh-movement; instead, moved wh-phrases are instances of clefts, topicalization, or something else (Cheng 1991, a.o.; but cf. Denham 2000). This talk argues that wh-phrases in Eastern Cham are moved due to the discourse subordination (DS) effect (see Tuesday's talk at ILN).
The DS-effect is analyzed syntactically with a feature we call [discourse-connected] ([DC]). Motivation for this feature-based analysis comes from topicalization, which also displays the DS-effect. Locality effects demonstrate that wh-phrases can intervene on topicalization and vice versa. According to feature inclusion theories (e.g. Friedman, et al 2009), this entails that topics and moved wh-phrases must share identical features at some level. Finally, evidence from DP-internal topicalization via inventory forms demonstrates that the wh-phrases themselves do not bear [DC]. Instead, we argue that autonomous DC-particles perform that function, alleviating the need for wh-phrases to completely share features with topics.