An experimental investigation of reconstruction for Condition C in German A′-movement
Marta Wierzba, Martin Salzmann, Doreen Georgi
August 2020

We report on the first experimental investigation of Condition C reconstruction in German wh-questions. The major contributions are the following: (a) We show that Condition C reconstruction is very robust in wh-movement (contrary to claims in the literature and recent experimental findings on English), with both arguments and predicates. (b) We have found no evidence supporting an argument-adjunct asymmetry and thus a late-merger approach. (c) There is a distance effect in that reconstruction effects become weaker with increasing distance between wh-phrase and coreferential pronoun (e.g., across a clause-boundary). This result is compatible with the assumption that A'-moved constituents reconstruct in German. Our methodology in inspired by that of Bruening and Al-Khalaf (2019), where participants are shown embedded questions with two possible antecedents for a coreferential pronoun, one in the matrix clause and one within the wh-phrase. Unlike in Bruening and Al-Khalaf, where the participants had to answer a forced choice question, in our experiments they had to decide for each R-expression whether it was a possible antecedent of the pronoun. We argue that this method is more informative. data are based on an enhanced to elicit coreference judgments and show that it can be more informative than previous methods.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005396
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS) 56.
keywords: reconstruction effects, condition c, german, argument-adjunct asymmetries, experimental syntax, a'-movement, wh-movement, syntax
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