Webelhuth on c-command constraints in German

Gert Webelhuth’s paper on “C-command constraints in German: A corpus-based investigation” has been published ahead of print in Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft.

In the paper, Gert addresses the role of c-command constraints in the grammar of three phenomena in German: relative quantifier scope, quantificational binding, and negative polarity. He presents the results of a large corpus study that demonstrate empirically that scope of one quantifier over another, quantificational binding, and the licensing of negative polarity items in German are systematically possible in structural configurations where surface c-command cannot reasonably be assumed to obtain. Further corpus evidence shows that the non-c-commanding quantifiers in the examples typically occur in contexts where the set they quantify over is discourse-old or easy to accommodate. The overall picture that emerges from the empirical evidence is that topicality motivates wide scope, and scope rather than c-command licenses negative polarity items and bound pronouns.

The paper is published as open access and can be downloaded from https://www.degruyter.com/journal/key/zfsw/0/0/html

Reference and link

Webelhuth, Gert. 2022. C-command constraints in German: A corpus-based investigation. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 41( 2), 339-392.