ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics



First Advisor

Joseph Sabbagh


This dissertation focuses on the distribution of "massive pied-piping" (Heck 2008) constructions in English. Compared to other forms of wh-movement and pied-piping, broadly speaking, massive pied-piping is limited in the environments in which it may occur. The primary goals of this dissertations are to examine (i) whether massive piped-piping is restricted to non-subordinated clauses (cf. wh-movement), (ii) what effect prosody has on relative clause interpretations, and (iii) how the distribution of massive pied-piping can be explained given a wider pattern of acceptability. To address these questions, I combine traditional syntactic and semantic judgments with two psycholinguistic experiments that utilize a context-continuation plausibility judgment paradigm during spoken language comprehension. The results of these formal diagnostics and psycholinguistic experiments suggest that massive pied-piping cannot be restricted based on the non-subordinated status of the clause hosting the movement, and I argue that massive pied-piping is restricted to non-interrogative clauses. To account for this new generalization, I present an analysis that combines a Q-based analysis of wh-movement (Cable 2010) with a two-stage, Focus/wh-Agreement process (Den Dikken 2003). While both interrogative and non-interrogative clauses can host simple wh-movement or pied-piping through QP-movement (motivated by Focus-agreement) under this analysis, massive pied-piping is disallowed in truly interrogative clauses as a result of an inability to establish a local Agreement relationship between the wh-features. In non-interrogative clauses, however, I argue that this relationship is never initiated due to an inherent lack of a wh-feature at the complementizer level; thereby, massive pied-piping is allowed to occur. In addition to accounting for the distribution of massive pied-piping, this analysis accounts for the unrestricted nature of simple wh-movement and forms of obligatory pied-piping without additional mechanisms.


Syntax, Sentence processing, wh-movement, Pied-piping, Prosody


Linguistics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

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