Wh-questions ending with a verb

This is another type of utterance in which the final verb is deaccented and the nucleus falls on a previous noun. Different authors (Cruttenden, Wells, Ortiz-Lira) explain this phenomenon in terms of syntax. The exception to the LLI rule is “the result of movement transformations between deep and surface structure” (Cruttenden). In essence the case is very similar to that studied in the previous article. There is a syntactic movement that places a noun phrase (or other type of phrase, as Wells points out) before the verb. The verb is therefore left at the end of the utterance and gets deaccented. The nucleus of the IP is located on a previous noun. Let’s see some examples:

(167) sound_loud_speaker What kind of house did she buy?

(168) sound_loud_speaker Whose car are you driving?

(169) sound_loud_speaker What absolute drivel can he talk?

In the utterances above the accented noun is always the object of the sentence, but it can also be the subject, as in

(170) sound_loud_speaker How’s your mother doing?

(171) sound_loud_speaker How does your sister survive?

(172) sound_loud_speaker Where does your boss come from?

The deaccentuation of the final verb in wh-questions can be seen in the following examples. The nucleus falls on the object in (173) and the subject in (174) and (175).

(173) sound_loud_speaker What kind of literary inspiration does Spain give you? (Eleanor Wachtel; Montreal, Quebec, Canada).

 

(174) How did your reunion with Artie go? (David Hyde Pierce; New York, US).

 

(175) What do you think green and black means? (Colin Farrell; Baldoyle, Dublin, Ireland)

 

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