The semantics of Multiple Wh- Free Relative Clauses
IVANO CAPONIGRO and ANAMARIA FĂLĂUȘ
Multiple wh-words constructions are well-attested across languages: in addition to widespread multiple wh-interrogative clauses (see e.g., Dayal 2016 for a recent overview), there are languages that also allow for multiple wh-correlative clauses (e.g., Dayal 1996, Citko 2009, Lipták 2009) or multiple wh-“modal existential constructions (MECs)” (e.g., Grosu 2004, Šimík 2011). In contrast, only a few languages, mostly spoken in the Balkans (Bulgarian, Macedonian, Romanian), have been noted to have multiple wh-free relatives clauses (Rudin 2007, 2008). Examples from Romanian are given in brackets in (1) and (2), respectively.
(1) Am împachetat [ ce cui dăm de Crăciun].
have.1 wrapped what who.DAT give.1PL for Christmas
Roughly: ‘We wrapped the things to give to the appropriate people on Christmas.’
(2) Ți-am dat [ ce unde când a trebuit instalat].
CL2-have.1SG given what where when has needed installed
Roughly: ‘I gave you the things that needed to be installed in the appropriate place at the appropriate time.’
Multiple wh- free relative clauses not only are less attested and have been much less studied, but are also particularly puzzling. We show that, despite being true free relatives, standard semantic analyses of free relatives with just a single wh-word (Jacoboson 1995, Dayal 1996, Caponigro 2003, 2004) cannot be straightforwardly extended to multiple wh- free relative clauses. We propose a solution to this puzzle by providing the first compositional analysis of multiple wh- free relative clauses which builds on previous work on single wh- free relative clauses and functional readings in interrogative and relative clauses.
We focus on Romanian (using data from a variety of Romanian spoken in Transylvania), which makes use of multiple wh- free relative clauses productively and also displays all the other multiple wh-constructions listed above (e.g., Comorovski 1996, Grosu 2004, Braşoveanu 2012). Still we have found varieties of English and German (from Baden-Württemberg) that allow for multiple wh- free relative clauses as well, as shown in (3) and (4), respectively.
(3) I gave you [what to put where].
‘I gave you the things to put in the own places.’
(4) Ich bereite vor, [ was wir wem geben müssen].
I prepare what we whom give must
‘I’ll prepare what we should give to the appropriate people.’