Jun Lyu

Stony Brook University
Talk Title: 
Weakest crossover in Chinese—now you see it, now you don’t
Event Type: 
Brown Bag Talk
Fall 2017
Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 1:00 pm
Seminar Room

Weak crossover (WCO) in Chinese has always been a neglected child in theoretical formulation. Previous offhand discussion only scratches the surface of the phenomenon and WCO in Chinese (wh-in-situ language) is taken to be subject to the same set of constraints on WCO as in English (Huang & Li, 1996). It is only until recently that more interesting data has been presented (Liu, 2013) where it is found that wh-ex-situ (preposing of wh-phrases) averts WCO effect. This is reminiscent of previous discussion on A-scrambling in Hindi (Mahajan, 1990) and Japanese (Saito, 1982; Ueyama, 1999) which is argued to be exempt from WCO. An offline judgment experiment was conducted to test the validity of such a hypothesis, alongside two other extant theories on WCO—weakest crossover account (Liu, 2013) and constraint-based typological perspective (Bresnan, 1994, 1998). The results suggest that A-scrambling hypothesis is problematic and that a typological perspective can provide a satisfactory explanation for the data.