Focus intervention effects in Mandarin multiple wh-questions

Haoze Li, Candice Chi-Hang Cheung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we investigate focus intervention effects in Mandarin multiple wh-questions, showing that such effects arise only if a focus particle and its focus associate intervene between the interrogative complementizer C[Q] and one or more in-situ wh-phrases. We further show that focus intervention effects are not observed when a focus particle takes all the in-situ wh-phrases in its c-command domain as its focus associates. Adopting Pesetsky and Torrego’s (in: Karimi et al. (eds.) Phrasal and clausal architecture: Syntactic derivation and interpretation, in honor of Joseph E. Emonds, 2007) feature-sharing view of Agree, we propose that the dependency between C[Q] and an in-situ wh-phrase can be reduced to an Agree relation. In addition, adopting Rizzi’s (in: Belletti (ed.), Structures and beyond: The cartography of syntactic structures, 2004) refined version of Relativized Minimality, we propose that focus intervention effects are induced by the presence of a Focus Phrase that prohibits C[Q] from establishing proper dependencies with the in-situ wh-phrases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-382
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of East Asian Linguistics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2015


  • Association with focus
  • Feature-sharing view of Agree
  • Focus intervention effects
  • Mandarin
  • Multiple wh-questions
  • Relativized Minimality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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