Abstract

This article delineates and analyzes the syntactic and semantic parameters of variation exhibited by English filler -gap constructions . It demonstrates that a detailed, fully explicit account of the observed variation is available within a framework embracing the notion ‘grammatical construction’. This account, which explicates similarities and differences among topicalization, interrogatives, relatives, exclamatives, and comparative correlatives in terms of linguistic types and hierarchical constraint inheritance, is articulated in detail within the framework of sign -based construction grammar (SBCG), a version of head -driven phrase structure grammar (HPSG) integrating key insights from Berkeley construction grammar . The results presented here stand as a challenge to any analysis incorporating transformational operations, especially proposals couched within Chomsky’s ‘Minimalist program’.

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