Academic journal article Journal of Slavic Linguistics

On the Distribution of -Kolwiek 'Ever' in Polish Free Relatives

Academic journal article Journal of Slavic Linguistics

On the Distribution of -Kolwiek 'Ever' in Polish Free Relatives

Article excerpt

Abstract: This paper analyzes the distribution of the particle -kolwiek 'ever' in Polish free relatives. The empirical observation it builds on concerns the obligatory presence of -kolwiek in complex free relatives. I argue against accounts that reduce this requirement to purely semantic considerations and propose a syntactic account instead. This account rests on independently motivated claims about the structure of Polish noun phrases and the positive setting of the DP Parameter for Polish. The crucial innovation lies in the structure proposed for wh-phrases in free relatives; I argue that such wh-phrases have a more complex internal structure than wh-phrases in questions, in that they require the topmost head inside the nominal projection, the Q head, to be filled by an overt element in order to support the maximality operator associated with the interpretation of free relatives.

1. Puzzle

My main goal in this paper is to account for a curious restriction on the distribution of the particle -kolwiek 'ever' in Polish free relatives. Most existing accounts of this restriction focus on the semantic contribution of ever (and its equivalents in other languages) and ignore (or mention only in passing) the effects ever can have on the grammaticality of a sentence (see, for example, Caponigro 2003, Dayal 1997, Tredinnick 2005). The more general theoretical question I address in this paper is whether we can learn anything about the structure of noun phrases in Polish, and perhaps in Slavic languages in general from the behavior of free relatives in these languages. I thus hope to contribute to the ongoing debate in Slavic linguistics regarding the parametrization of the DP Hypothesis. The debate concerns the issue of whether noun phrases in Slavic languages project a DP layer in spite of the lack of overt articles, which are typically considered to be prototypical realizations of D heads.

The crucial empirical observation I focus on is the obligatory presence of the particle -kolwiek in some free relatives and its optionality in others. The factor distinguishing the two kinds is the complexity of the wh-phrase heading the free relative. (1) Simple free relatives are those headed by simple wh-words such as kto 'who', co 'what', gdzie 'where', kiedy 'when', and jak 'how'. (2) Such relatives can be nominal, as shown in (1a-b), or adverbial in character, as shown in (1c-e), depending on the category of the wh-phrase. (3) In all of them, the presence of -kolwiek is optional. It affects interpretation but, crucially, not grammaticality.

(1) a. Zatrudnimy kogo(kolwiek) nam polecisz.

[employ.sub.1PL.PRES] [who(ever).sub.ACC] [us.sub.DAT] [recommend.sub.2SG.PRES]

'We will hire whoever you recommend to us.'

b. Czytam co(kolwiek) mi wpadnie w reke.

[read.sub.1SG.PRES] [what(ever).sub.ACC] [me.sub.DAT] [fall.sub.3SG.PRES] in hand

'I read whatever I can get my hands on.'

c. Pojedziemy gdzie(kolwiek) jest ladna pogoda.

[go.sub.1PL.PRES] where(ever) is [nice.sub.NOM] [weather.sub.NOM]

'We will go wherever the weather is nice.'

d. Przysle Ci ten artykul kiedy(kolwiek) go

[send.sub.1SG.PRES] [you.sub.DAT] [this.sub.ACC] [article.sub.ACC] when(ever) [it.sub.ACC]

skoncze.

[finish.sub.1SC.PRES]

'I will send you this article whenever I finish it.'

e. Zbudujemy ten dora jak(kolwiek) projektant

[build.sub.1PL.PRES] [this.sub.ACC] [house.sub.ACC] how(ever) [designer.sub.NOM]

nam kaze.

[us.sub.DAT] [tell.sub.3SG.PRES]

'We will build this house however the designer tells us to.'

Complex free relatives differ from simple ones in that they are headed by more complex wh-phrases, consisting of a wh-element followed by a noun, adjective, or adverb. For lack of a better term, I will refer to wh-elements in complex free relatives as wh-modifiers; they are wh-words and they modify other categories. …

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