Parallel Merge, Multidominance and the Structure of Wh-Coordination

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor in Linguistics University of Kurdistan

2 Assistant Professor of English Language, Azad Islamic University, Rasht


Wh-coordination is a descriptive term used to refer to configurations where two wh-constituents are conjoined. Wh-coordination bears descriptive resemblances to conventional coordination and multiple wh-questions. However, closer inspection of wh-coordination reveals that it is different in both semantic and syntactic respects. In terms of its semantics, wh-coordination yields a single-pair reading, as opposed to the pair-list reading forced by multiple wh-questions. As for its syntactic properties, wh-coordination violates the Coordination of the Likes Law (Williams 1987), as opposed to conventional coordination. To explain such intrinsic characteristics of wh-coordination, we will advance a syntactic analysis of such constructions in terms of Parallel Merge and Multidominance. Crucially, on the basis of their syntactic and semantic peculiarities, it is argued that clauses containing wh-coordination have a bi-clausal structure, with VPs and TPs parallel-merged, where each wh-constituent is merged within its respective dominating clause and consequently, the two clauses are conjoined in the CP level. Under this analysis, coordination of the wh-constituents is only apparent; the real coordination occurs at the CP level of clauses containing the wh-constituents. The superficial coordination of the wh-constituents is an epiphenomenon ensuing from the linearization of bi-clausal conjunction.


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Volume 9, Issue 1
June 2018
Pages 39-58
  • Receive Date: 03 November 2017
  • Revise Date: 30 December 2017
  • Accept Date: 08 May 2018
  • First Publish Date: 22 June 2018