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EL2201: Structure of sentences and Meaning Semester 2, 2012-2013 Kim, Chonghyuck/Chang Qizhong TUTORIAL 5: ARE EMBEDDED INTERROATIVE CLAUSE AN NP?

Are embedded interrogative clauses noun phrases?
EL2201: Structure of sentences and Meaning Kim, Chonghyuck/Chang Qizhong Semester 2, 2012-2013 T UTORIAL 5: A RE EMBEDDED INTERROATIVE CLAUSE AN NP? English has a rich variety of embedded clauses. We examined two of them: interrogative clauses and non-interrogative clauses. When an embedded clause denotes a question, we call it an embedded interrogative clause. Here are two examples illustrating embedded interrogative clauses: (1) a. I asked [what time the show begins]. b. We asked [whether it would snow]. In lecture 5 and 6, I asserted that an embedded interrogative clause is a CP. My assertion, however, might not be correct and thus should not be taken for granted without being questioned. We could have taken a different route and proposed the following hypothesis: (C) Hypothesis : Embedded interrogative clauses belong to the phrasal category NP. In fact, there are linguists who believe that Hypothesis C is correct. Hypothesis (C) has long been controversial. The evidence for and against it is quite complex. Probably, we cannot settle the issue in this module and just accept my assertion. But we are well positioned to discuss it in an informed way. That, broadly speaking, is the goal of this tutorial. T ASK : Use the following examples to assess hypothesis (C). (2) a. We talked about what time the show begins. b. We talked about whether it will snow. c. We talked about the show. (3) a. What time the show begins remains uncertain. b. Whether it will snow remains uncertain. c. The weather remains uncertain. (4) a. *It seems what time the show begins. b. * It seems whether it will snow. c. *It seems the beginning. (cf. It seems to be the beginning) (5) a. Sally is not certain of what time the show begins. b. Sally is not certain what time the show begins. c. Sally is not certain of the start time. d. *Sally is not certain the start time.
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EL2201: Structure of sentences and Meaning Kim, Chonghyuck/Chang Qizhong Semester 2, 2012-2013 (6) a. They ignored the question whether a spy might have stolen the secret decoder ring. b. They ignored the question of whether a spy might have stolen the secret decoder ring. c. * They ignored the question security. d. They ignored the question of security.
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