Interrogative slifting in English

Bill Haddican, Anders Homberg, Hidekazu Tanaka, George Tsoulas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper analyzes English ‘‘wh-slifting’’ sentences (for example, How old is she do you think). We argue that these sentences are not scope-marking constructions nor are they derived by simple clausal pied-piping as an alternative to wh-extraction. We show that such
sentences are akin to declarative slifting sentences, but more restricted than the latter particularly in the kinds of evidential predicates they co-occur with. We argue that the slifted question is not first merged as the complement of the main clause, but that the relationship
between the two clauses is mediated by an evidential morpheme, which takes the do you think-clause as its specifier. This analysis, whichexplains several properties of wh-slifting that distinguish it from scope-marking constructions and Basque-type clausal pied-piping,
partially reconciles wh-slifting questions with paratactic approaches to quotative constructions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-106
Number of pages20
Early online date26 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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