THE VARIABILITY IN THE INTERPRETATION OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF WH-ADJUNCTS WITHIN ISLAND STRUCTURES IN TURKISH

Abstract

Author(s): Sinan AKIR

The interpretation of the reason and purpose denoting wh-adverbials in Turkish, neden, niye, niçin ‘why’ are always problematic within syntactic islands (Arslan, 1999, Görgülü, 2006, Çak?r, 2015; 2016). Reinhart (1998) focuses on the different behaviors of the wh-adverbials ‘why e.g.’ and which-NP constructions ‘which student e.g.’ in-situ and proposes a choice-function analysis for them. Following her claims, Arslan (1999) proposes that wh-adverbials niye, neden, niçin 'why' cannot be interpreted within syntactic islands in Turkish while the interpretation of the which-NP constructions like hangi amaçla ‘for what reason’ or hangi sebeple ‘with what purpose’ in such structures are possible since they dominate an N-set from which an individual can be selected. These wh-adverbials, in fact, underwent a phonological attrition process and lost some of their phonetic substances: ne + için = niçin, ne+diye = niye, ne+ABL= neden. The full forms of these wh-expressions can be viewed as wh-pronominals within postpositional phrases whose noun sets are empty. Hence, the use of ne için ‘for what’ instead of niçin ‘why’ within island structures might produce more acceptable results. In the present study, the characteristics of different types of wh-adjuncts in Turkish are analyzed through a grammaticality judgment test and a missing word completion task. The findings of the study indicate that all wh-adjuncts do not behave similarly: the acceptability of whadverbials, wh-pronominals in postpositional phrases and which-NP constructions differ from one another, which shed light on the adjunct & argument asymmetry observed in Turkish. The syntactic explanations for the variation in the acceptability of different types of wh-adjuncts have been presented in the study as well.

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