That is, is there a language that allows the following type of movement

  1. WH1 ... (ATTITUDE-VERB) QUOT ... t1
  2. DP-TOP1 ... (ATTITUDE-VERB) QUOT ... t1
  • What would such structures look like? Can you show (however ill-formed) examples with English? Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 18:28
  • 2
    I suppose it would be something like: Who did John_i say, "I_i talked to"? (Where "_i" is a subscripted index; I'm attempting to exploit the shifting of indexicals in English quotations to demonstrate what the reading would have to be.)
    – kgr
    Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure about specific cases of wh-movement, but Japanese allows long-distance scrambling out of a quotative clause, which seems to be a positive answer to your question. For instance, here's an example adapted from Saito (1992):

[Sono hon-o]_i    Hanako-ga    [CP Taroo-ga t_i katta to]     omotteiru.
that book-ACC     Hanako-NOM   Taro-NOM         bought QUOT   think
'Hanako thinks Taro bought that book.'

In general I don't think I've ever heard of quotative clauses being islands, so I'd expect in wh-movement languages with quotatives you'll be able to do the type of extractions you're talking about.

Saito, M. (1992). 'Long Distance Scrambling in Japanese.' Journal of East Asian Linguistics 1(1): 69-118.

  • Hello Supergrunch! Welcome to the Linguistics SE! I fixed your interlinear gloss. Please double check it in case there are mistakes, I was not sure about the "bought QUOT" part... :)
    – Alenanno
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 13:09
  • Thanks for the welcome and fixing the gloss! The "bought QUOT" part should be right - the Japanese quotative is a head-final complementizer and so occurs at the end of the clause. Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 21:56

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