Direct vs. indirect disjunction of wh-complements, as diagnosed by subordinating complementizers (2016)

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Since the early 1980s, there has been a debate in the semantics literature pertaining to whether wh-interrogatives can be directly disjoined, as main clauses and as complements. Those who held that the direct disjunction of wh-interrogatives was in conflict with certain theoretical considerations proposed that they could be disjoined indirectly. Indirect disjunction proceeds by first lifting both wh-interrogatives and then disjoining them; it assigns matrix-level scope to OR. As we will see, the notorious theoretical need for indirect disjunction has disappeared by today. But the factual question remains. Are wh-complements disjoined directly or indirectly? What is the fact of the matter? This paper argues that the case for indirect disjunction remains reasonably strong.
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First archival date: 2016-08-26
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