Unveiling multiple wh- free relative clauses and their functional wh-words

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Ivano Caponigro
Anamaria Fălăuș


We provide the first description and compositional semantic analysis of a construction that we label a "multiple wh- free relative clause" -- an embedded non-interrogative wh-clause with more than one wh-word. We show that multiple wh-free relative clauses are closely related to the more familiar free relative clauses with one wh-word ⎯- single wh- free relative clauses. We argue that an appropriate semantic analysis for multiple wh-free relative clauses can be grounded in the semantic analyses that have been proposed for single wh- free relative clauses, but crucially requires non-trivial broadening of the meaning of wh-words. Focusing on Romanian, we propose a compositional account of multiple wh- FRs building on two main components: (i) the assumption that wh-words can license complex traces/variables with a functional component -- an option that has been independently suggested for several other wh- constructions, and (ii) a new functional meaning for wh-words -- a close variant of the functional meaning of wh-words that has been independently proposed to account for functional wh- interrogative clauses.


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