University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Article Title

Swiping without Sluicing


In English, when a question involving a prepositional wh-phrase (wh-PP) undergoes sluicing, the wh-word may be inverted around the preposition, in a process known as 'swiping'. I show, contrary to previous work, that swiping is not restricted to sluicing contexts: it is also permitted when the inverted wh-PP is coordinated with another wh-phrase (e.g., "When and who by was this first discovered?"). I argue that English syntax is able to generate swiped structures in all questions involving wh-PPs, including 'simple' (non-sluiced, non-coordinated) wh-questions. Swiping in simple wh-questions is subsequently ruled out on prosodic grounds. The account crucially relies on coordinated wh-questions having the same prosodic signature as Right Node Raising constructions.