chapter  2
35 Pages

The Semantic Functions of the Predicate Complementizers

AcloserapproximationtotheeffectofWHcomesfromviewingitasasemanticfunctionondeterminers(cf.Baker1969). Thesedeterminersinclude,e.g.,~,~·thatin~ ~,soold,thatone;and(assumingwithPostalthatpronounsaresyntacticallyrelatedtodeterminers)then,there, etc.Forxsuchadeterminer,WH(X)means"referenceofX isundetermined".Thuswemighthave

what

which

where

Ordinaryquestionsmighthaveinterpretationsasindicated in(7a):

"Embeddedquestions"wouldbeinterpretedasin(7b): b.Sheaskedwhichoneyouliked=Sheasked

[youlikedWH(that)one;undetermined-referenceofthat],i.e."Sheaskedthereference ofxinyoulikedxone". Iknowhowoldyouare=Iknow[youareWH(so) old:undeterminedreferenceof~],i.e."I knowthereferenceofxinyouarexold." WhatwomanfirstreceivedanM.D.isn'twidely ~=[WH(some)womanfirstreceivedanM.D.: undeterminedreferenceof~]isn~twidely known,i.e."Thereferenceofxinxwoman firstreceivedanM.D.isn'twidelyknown.