Scope marking as indirect wh-dependency

Veneeta Srivastav Dayal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


In certain languages, scope-marking structures are used to express long-distance wh-dependencies along with or instead of the more familiar extraction structure. The existence of these two strategies raises an interesting question for the mapping between syntactic structure and semantic representation. Should apparent semantic equivalence be taken as a guide and syntactic parallelism posited at an abstract level of syntax? Or should the surface syntactic distinction between them be maintained and an alternative explanation sought for the similarity in meaning? In this paper I show that theoretical as well as empirical considerations argue against the first approach. I present a syntactic analysis of scope-marking structures in which the dependency between wh-expressions is indirect (in contrast to extraction structures which encode direct wh-dependencies). I draw attention to certain differences between scope marking and extraction structures which show that they are not really equivalent. The interpretive procedure given for indirect wh-dependencies derives the considerable similarity in meaning between the two structures while maintaining the necessary distinctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-170
Number of pages34
JournalNatural Language Semantics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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