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Show full table of contents Wh-movement in simplex clauses (short wh-movement)

This section discusses wh-questions derived by short wh-movement, that is, cases in which a wh-phrase is moved into the initial position of its own clause; cases of long wh-movement, in which a wh-phrase is extracted from its own clause and moved into the initial position of some matrix clause, are postponed until Section The discussion is organized as follows, subsection I starts by showing that wh-movement is near-obligatory in the sense that one wh-phrase must be moved into clause-initial position, subsection II briefly discusses a hypothesis that aims at deriving this obligatoriness of movement from stating that wh-movement creates an operator-variable chain in the sense of predicate calculus (although some languages may also use alternative means like scope markers; see, e.g., Cheng (1991/1997), Bayer 2006, and also Section, sub V). An example like (96a) can be translated more or less directly into the semantic formula in (96b): if we ignore the feature -animate for the moment, the wh-phrase wat in clause-initial position corresponds to the question operator ?x, while the trace of the wh-phrase corresponds to the variable x. For completeness' sake, note that in formal semantics the question operator is normally expressed by the lambda operator: λx read(Peter, x). We will use more informal representations such as (96b).

Example 96
a. Wati leest Peter ti?
  what  reads  Peter
  'What is Peter reading?'
b. ?x (Peter is reading x)

Subsection III restricts the discussion to wh-phrases consisting of a single wh-word like w ie'who', wat'what' and hoe'how'; the aim of this subsection is to show that there are no restrictions on wh-movement related to the category or the syntactic function of the moved element, subsection IV briefly shows that the acceptability of embedded wh-questions depends on semantic properties of the matrix verb, subsection V discusses movement of larger wh-phrases, that is, phrases containing non-interrogative material besides the wh-element such as wiens boek'whose book' in (97a). According to the hypothesis to be discussed in Subsection II that wh-movement creates an operator-variable chain, it should suffice to simply move the wh-element, as the question is only concerned with the identity of the owner/writer of the book, as in the logical formula ?x (Peter is reading x's book); however, example (97b) shows that it is impossible to move the possessive wh-pronoun only. The fact that wh-movement may (or must) move a larger phrase than is needed for semantic reasons has become known as pied piping. We will say that in examples such as (97a) the wh-element wiens obligatorily pied-pipes the non-interrogative part boek of the direct object; example (97b) shows that stranding of this part is excluded.

Example 97
a. [Wiens boek]i leest ti Peter?
  whose book  read  Peter
  'Whose book is Peter reading?'
b. * Wiensi leest Peter [ti boek]?
  whose  reads  Peter  book

Subsection V will show that pied piping can be forced by the fact that in some cases syntax simply does not allow wh-extraction. In other cases, however, stranding is possible or even required. There is, for instance, a contrast between pre- and postpositional phrases: while prepositions are normally pied-piped under wh-movement, postpositions are normally stranded, subsection VI will discuss a number of cases of wh-extraction.

Example 98
a. Jan is in die boom geklommen?
  Jan is in that tree  climbed
  'Jan has climbed into that tree.'
a'. In welke boom is Jan geklommen?
pied piping
  in which tree  is Jan climbed
  'Into which tree has Jan climbed?'
b. Jan is die boom in geklommen.
  Jan is  that tree  into  climbed
  'Jan has climbed into that tree.'
b'. Welke boom <*in> is Jan <in> geklommen?
  which tree    into  is Jan climbed
  'Into which tree has Jan climbed?'

The strongest hypothesis concerning pied piping and stranding would be that the two phenomena are in complementary distribution. We will formalize this by assuming a general constraint "avoid pied piping", which prohibits pied piping in constructions that allow stranding, subsection VI will show, however, that there are a number of potential problems with this constraint: there are cases in which pied piping and stranding are both excluded as well as cases in which they are both possible. For this reason we will briefly discuss the status of the constraint "avoid pied piping" in Subsection VII.

[+]  I.  Wh-movement is near-obligatory

The examples in (99) show that wh-movement is sometimes optional in interrogative main clauses; the wh-phrase normally occurs in clause-initial position but may also occur in clause-internal position in colloquial speech, provided that it is assigned a high tone, which we indicated by italics; cf. Zwart (2011:22).

Example 99
a. Wat ga je doen?
regular form
  what  go  you  do
  'What are you going to do?'
a'. Je gaat wat doen?
colloquial speech
  you  go  what  do
  'What are you going to do?'
b. Wanneer ga je naar Utrecht?
regular form
  when  go  you  to Utrecht
  'When will you go to Utrecht?'
b'. Je gaat wanneer naar Utrecht?
colloquial speech
  you  go  when  to Utrecht
  'When will you go to Utrecht?'

The prosodically marked questions in the primed examples are normally ignored in syntactic descriptions of Standard Dutch, which may be due to the fact that they do not occur in written texts and formal speech. Unfortunately, we will not have much to say about these wh-constructions either, for want of sufficient in-depth research, although it is worth mentioning that leaving the wh-phrase in situ is a typical root phenomenon; Subsection IV will show that it does not occur in embedded wh-questions. Note further that the linear strings in the primed examples in (99) are also acceptable if they are construed as echo-questions: this reading requires the wh-element to be assigned emphatic accent. Echo-questions can be used if the hearer has the impression that he did not properly understand the speaker or if he wants to express surprise, disbelief, anger, etc.: echo-question (100a) could be used if B knows that A normally does not bother helping with domestic tasks, and echo-question (100b) could be used to express indignation or anger if A had promised B to spend the day together. We will not discuss echo-questions in what follows here.

Example 100
a. A: Ik ga de afwas doen. B: Je gaat wat doen?
  I go the dishes do you  go  what  do
  'A: Iʼm going to do the dishes. B: You are going to do what?'
b. A. Ik ga vandaag naar Utrecht. B: Je gaat wanneer naar Utrecht?
  I go  today  to Utrecht  you  go  when  to Utrecht
  'A: Iʼm going to Utrecht today. B. You are going to Utrecht when?'

      The discussion of the examples in (99) has shown that wh-movement is more or less obligatory: it is the normal means to form a wh-question, although occasionally in colloquial speech it is not found in main clauses with a specific intonation pattern. The proper interpretation of the notion near-obligatoriness of wh-movement needs some special attention, though, as it pertains to the interrogative clause as a whole and not to individual wh-phrases. That wh-questions normally require the clause-initial position to be filled by some wh-phrase was already pointed out above. The so-called multiple wh-questions in (101) show, however, that it is possible for a wh-phrase to stay in its base position, provided the clause-initial position is filled by some other wh-phrase; it is in fact impossible to move both wh-phrases into clause-initial position, which can be attributed to the restriction that the clause-initial position can be filled by at most one constituent in Dutch; we will return to multiple wh-questions in Section

Example 101
a. Wie heeft wat gezegd?
  who  has  what  said
  'Who said what?'
a'. * Wie wat heeft gezegd?
b. Wat heeft hij aan wie gegeven?
  what  has  he  to who  given
  'What has he given to whom?'
b'. * Wat aan wie heeft hij gegeven?

This subsection has shown that wh-movement is near-obligatory in the sense that the initial position of a wh-clauses must be filled by some wh-phrase; it is, however, possible for wh-phrases to remain in their original position if certain conditions are met, e.g., if the clause-initial position is already filled by some other wh-phrase.

[+]  II.  A functional motivation for wh-movement?

The near-obligatory nature of wh-movement in wh-questions can be attributed to the fact that this movement is needed to create an operator-variable relation in the sense of predicate calculus; see, e.g., Chomsky (1991) and Dayal (2006: Section 1.1.1). The syntactic representations in the primeless examples in (102), for instance, can be translated more or less directly into the (slightly informal) semantic representations in the primed examples. The preposed wh-phrases wat'what' and welk verhaal'which story' correspond to the question operator ?x plus a restrictor on the variable x (here: thing/story), while the trace of the wh-phrase corresponds to the variable x.

Example 102
a. Wati heeft Peter ti gelezen?
  what  has  Peter  read
  'What has Peter read?'
a'. ?x [x: thing] (Peter has read x)
b. [Welk verhaal]i heeft Peter ti gelezen?
  which story  has  Peter  read
  'Which story has Peter read?'
b'. ?x [x: story] (Peter has read x)

Attractive as this may seem, it cannot be the whole story because it is not possible to translate the more complex wh-constructions in the primeless examples in (103) directly into the semantic representations given in the primed examples, as only a subpart of the wh-moved phrase corresponds to the question operator plus restrictor: the possessive pronoun wiens'whose' translates into ?x [x: person].

Example 103
a. [Wiens boek]i heeft Peter ti gelezen?
  whose book  has  Peter  read
  'Whose book has Peter read?'
a'. ?x [x: person] (Peter has read x's book)
b. [Wiens vaders boek]i heeft Peter ti gelezen?
  whose fatherʼs book  has  Peter  read
  'Whose fatherʼs book has Peter read?'
b'. ?x [x: person] (Peter has read x's father's book)

The phenomenon of pied piping thus makes it impossible to propose a one-to-one relationship between syntactic structure and semantic representation: pied piping makes it impossible to state in simple direct terms that wh-movement creates an operator-variable chain. This problem is normally solved by assuming some form of reconstruction of the non-interrogative part of the wh-phrase in its original position. That such a mechanism is needed is clear from examples such as (104); since the anaphor zichzelf must have a c-commanding antecedent, the sentence is interpreted as if at least the non- wh-part gerucht over zichzelf'rumor about himself' still occupies the original position of the wh-moved phrase indicated by the trace. We will return to pied piping in Subsection V and to reconstruction in Section 11.3.6.

Example 104
[Welk gerucht over zichzelfi]j heeft Peteriti ontkent?
  which rumor about himself  has  Peter  denied
'Which rumor about himself has Peter denied?'

      Another problem we need to mention here involves multiple wh-questions such as (105a). Again, the syntactic structure does not directly correspond with the desirable semantic representation in (105b): because there is only one wh-phrase in clause-initial position, we would expect only one operator-variable chain in the corresponding semantic representation, while we seem to need two operator-variable chains to capture the interpretation of (105a). Section will solve this problem by showing that the semantic representation in (105b) is actually not a proper semantic representation of (105a); multiple wh-questions do not quantify over entities but over ordered pairs of entities <x,y>, as indicated in the semantic representation in (105b').

Example 105
a. Wie heeft wat gelezen?
  who  has  what  read
  'Who has read what?'
b. ?x ?y (x has read y)
b'. ? <x,y> (x has read y)

Observe that we omitted the restrictors from our semantic representations in (105). For the sake of simplicity, we will follow this convention from now on whenever the restrictors are not immediately relevant for our discussion.
      This subsection discussed the hypothesis that there is a direct link between the obligatory nature of wh-movement and the semantic interpretation of wh-questions, in the sense that wh-movement is instrumental in creating operator-variable chains. Although we have seen that there are a number of potential problems with this hypothesis, to which we will return in Sections and 11.3.6, we will adopt this hypothesis as a leading idea in the following discussion.

[+]  III.  Categorial status and syntactic function of the wh-phrase

There seem to be few restrictions on the categorial status of moved wh-elements; the only requirement seems to be that an interrogative pro-form be available. We illustrate this here for clausal constituents. The examples in (106) start by showing that all nominal arguments can be questioned.

Example 106
Nominal wh-phrases
a. Jan/Hij heeft Marie/haar die baan aangeboden.
  Jan/he  has  Marie/her  that job  prt.-offered
  'Jan/He has offered Marie/her that job.'
b. Wie heeft Marie/haar die baan aangeboden?
  who  has  Marie/her  that job  prt.-offered
  'Who has offered Marie/her that job?'
c. Wat heeft Jan/hij Marie/haar aangeboden?
direct object
  what  has  Jan/he  Marie/her  prt.-offered
  'What has Jan/he offered [to] Marie/her?'
d. Wie heeft ?Jan/hij die baan aangeboden?
indirect object
  who  has   Jan/he  that job  prt.-offered
  'Who has Jan/he offered that job [to]?'

Note that the question mark on Jan in (106d) is not intended to suggest that there is a syntactic impediment on wh-movement of the indirect object if the subject is non-pronominal. The contrast between (106b) and (106d) suggests that there is indeed a tendency to interpret an animate wh-phrase in clause-initial position as the subject of the clause, but the fact that the use of a subject pronoun gives rise to a fully felicitous result in both examples shows that this tendency is not syntactic in nature. The examples in (107) show that we find the same tendency in the case of subjects and direct objects. The fact that we do not find a similar tendency in German or English suggests that Dutch clearly has a computational disadvantage compared to these languages, in which the intended reading is clear from morphological case marking and word order, respectively.

Example 107
a. Wie heeft Jan/hem gezien?
  who has  Jan/him  seen
  'Who has seen Jan/him?'
b. Wie heeft ?Jan/hij gezien?
  who  has   Jan/he  seen
  'Who has Jan/he seen?'

PP-arguments like indirect and prepositional objects cannot be replaced by a simple interrogative pro-form. This does not mean that such arguments cannot be wh-moved, but that this is only possible if the wh-phrase pied-pipes the preposition, as shown in (108). Such examples will be discussed in Subsection V.

Example 108
Prepositional wh-phrases
a. <Aan> wie heeft Jan die baan <*aan> aangeboden?
indirect object
  to  who  has  Jan that job  prt.-offered
  'To whom has Jan offered that book?'
b. <Naar> wie staat Jan <*naar> te kijken?
prepositional object
  to  who  stands  Jan  to wait
  'Who is Jan looking at?'

The examples in (109) show that complementives can easily be questioned: we illustrate this by means of three examples of complementives with a different categorial status.

Example 109
a. Wie ben jij eigenlijk? Een vriend van Jan.
  who  are  you  prt a friend of Jan
  'Who are you? Iʼm a friend of Janʼs.'
b. Hoe is de nieuwe directeur? Aardig.
  how  is the new director  nice
  'How is the new director? Heʼs nice.'
c. Waar heb je de schaar gelegd? In de la.
  where  have  you  the scissors  put  in the drawer
  'Where have you put the scissors? In the drawer.'

Example (110) shows that supplementives can be questioned as well. Note that hoe'how' can also be used as a wh-adverb so that the interpretation of the question Hoe vertrok hij?'How has he left' depends on the context.

Example 110
a. Hoe vertrok hij? Kwaad.
  how left  he  angry
  'How did he leave? He was angry.'
b. Hoe vertrok hij? Met de auto.
  how left  he  with the car
  'How did he leave? By car.'

Finally, the examples in (111) show that adverbial phrases with various functions can also be questioned when a wh-proform is available. Typical simplex adverbial wh-phrases are: hoe'how', hoezo'why/in what way', waarom'why', wanneer'when', and waar'where'.

Example 111
Adverbial wh-phrases
a. Waar slaap ik vanavond? In Peters kamer.
place adverbial
  where  sleep  tonight  in Peterʼs room
  'Where will I sleep tonight? In Peterʼs room.'
b. Wanneer vertrekken we? Na de vergadering.
time adverbial
  when  leave  we  after the meeting
  'When shall we leave? After the meeting.'
c. Hoe heb je het gelezen? Oppervlakkig.
manner adverbial
  how  have  you  it  read  superficially
  'How have you read it? Superficially.'

The examples above have amply demonstrated that there are few syntactic restrictions on question formation: clausal constituents with virtually any syntactic function and of any categorial type can be wh-questioned. The main restriction is lexical in nature in that there must be a wh-word available that can be used to question the intended phrase. This accounts for the fact that non-gradable clausal adverbs such as misschien'maybe' cannot be questioned: cf. * zeer/hoe misschien'very/how maybe'.

[+]  IV.  Wh-movement in embedded clauses

The discussion in the previous subsections was confined to wh-movement in main clauses. The primeless examples in (112) show that wh-movement is also possible in embedded clauses, and the primed examples show that wh-movement is obligatory: the embedded clauses cannot be interpreted as wh-questions if the wh-phrase stays in situ. The number sign in (112a') indicates that the embedded clause is acceptable as a yes/no-question if wat is interpreted as an existentially quantified personal pronoun ("something"), but this is of course not relevant here.

Example 112
a. dat Jan wil weten [wat (of) je gaat doen].
  that  Jan wants  know  what  comp  you  go  do
  'that Jan wants to know what youʼre going to do.'
a'. # datJan wil weten [of je wat gaat doen].
b. dat Jan wil weten [wanneer (of) je naar Utrecht gaat].
  that  Jan wants  know  when  comp  you  to Utrecht  go
  'that Jan wants to know when you go to Utrecht.'
b'. * dat Jan wil weten [of je wanneer naar Utrecht gaat].

      The examples in (113) show, however, that embedded wh-questions have a limited distribution. The question as to whether they are acceptable depends on the matrix verb; while (112) has shown that weten'to know' can license a wh-question, the verb ontkennen'to deny' cannot.

Example 113
a. * dat Jan ontkent [wat (of) je gaat doen].
  that  Jan denies what  comp  you  go  do
b. * dat Jan ontkent [wanneer (of) je naar Utrecht gaat].
  that  Jan denies   when  comp  you  to Utrecht  go

A warning flag is in order here given that free relatives (relative clauses without a phonetically expressed antecedent) have the appearance of interrogative clauses and can therefore easily be confused with them. They can however be recognized by the fact that they may occur in argument positions, that is, in the subject/object position preceding the clause-final verbs, as shown in (114a). Caution is only needed when they are extraposed (which is possible with all relative clauses modifying an object) or when there is no verb in clause-final position: cf. Jan ontkent wat je zegt'Jan denies what youʼre saying'.

Example 114
a. dat Jan [wat je zegt] heeft ontkend.
  that  Jan  what  you  say  has  denied
  'that Jan has denied what youʼre saying.'
b. dat Jan heeft ontkend [wat je zegt].
  that  Jan has  denied  what you say
  'that Jan has denied what youʼre saying.'

      For more discussion of the semantic selection restrictions on embedded clauses, we refer the reader to Section 4.1. The reader is also referred to Section 4.2 for a discussion that embedded infinitival wh-questions are mainly found in formal language; in colloquial speech they mainly occur in formulaic expressions such as Ik weet niet wat te doen/zeggen'I don't know what to do/say. Note in passing that such infinitival clauses are also frequently used as independent expressions (e.g. in instructions or as rhetorical questions): cf. Wat te doen in het geval van brand'What to do in case of fire'. More examples of this type can be found in Vos (1994:148).

[+]  V.  Pied piping

Subsection III dealt with wh-moved phrases consisting of a single word such as wie'who', w at'what', hoe'how' and waar'where'. This subsection will show that wh-movement may also affect larger phrases. This is illustrated in (115b-d) for nominal arguments with an interrogative demonstrative pronoun as determiner.

Example 115
a. Jan/Hij heeft Marie/haar die baan aangeboden.
  Jan/he  has  Marie/her  that job  prt.-offered
  'Jan/He has offered Marie/her that job.'
b. Welke functionaris heeft Marie/haar die baan aangeboden?
  which official  has  Marie/her  that job  prt.-offered
  'Which official offered Marie/her that job?'
c. Welke baan heeft Jan/hij Marie/haar aangeboden?
direct object
  which job  has  Jan/he  Marie/her  prt.-offered
  'Which job has Jan/he offered [to] Marie/her?'
d. Welke sollicitant heeft ?Jan/hij die baan aangeboden?
indirect object
  which applicant  has   Jan/he  that job  prt.-offered
  'Which applicant has Jan/he offered that book?'

Wh-movement of larger phrases has become known as pied piping: the interrogative demonstrative welke'which' is said to pied-pipe the non-interrogative part of the noun phrase into clause-initial position. The reasons for using this notion will be made clear in Subsection A, subsections B to D continue with a detailed discussion of the restrictions on pied piping of, respectively, NPs, PPs and APs, subsection E concludes by showing that pied piping of (extended) verbal projections is not possible. We aim at keeping the discussion relatively brief, given that some of the issues are discussed more extensively elsewhere; more detailed discussion on the NP data in Subsection B and the AP data in subsection D can be found in N2.2.1, sub V and A3.1.2, sub IV, respectively.

[+]  A.  Pied piping as a repair strategy

The fact that wh-moved phrases consisting of a single word such as w at'what' in (116a) move into clause-initial position is expected on the hypothesis discussed in Subsection II that wh-movement derives an operator-variable chain in the sense of predicate calculus. This does not hold, however, for the fact that there are also cases of wh-movement in which wh-movement applies to phrases including non-interrogative material, like welke auto'which car', wiens auto'whose car', and wiens vaders auto'whose father's car' in (116b-d); the non-interrogative parts of the wh-phrases are in italics.

Example 116
a. Wat is de snelste auto?
  what  is the fastest car
  'What is the fastest car?'
b. Welke auto is de snelste?
  which car  is the fastest
  'Which car is fastest?'
c. Wiens auto is de snelste?
  whose car  is fastest
  'Whose car is fastest?'
d. Wiens vaders auto is de snelste?
  whose fatherʼs car  is the fastest
  'Whose fatherʼs car is the fastest?'

The hypothesis that wh-movement derives an operator-variable chain requires movement of the interrogative pronouns only; movement of the non-interrogative material in these examples is therefore superfluous from a semantic point of view. Consequently, there must be some other reason for the fact that wh-movement of the interrogative demonstrative and possessive pronouns in (116b-d) pied-pipes the non-interrogative parts of these noun phrases. This reason is syntactic in nature: it is is simply impossible in Dutch to extract determiners from noun phrases. The examples in (117) show that while it is possible to wh-move a full direct object, it is impossible to extract an interrogative demonstrative pronoun from it.

Example 117
a. [Welk boek]i heeft Marie ti gelezen?
  which book  has  Marie  read
  'Which book has Marie read?'
b. * Welki heeft Marie [ti boek] gelezen?
  which  has  Marie  book  read

The examples in (118) show essentially the same for possessive pronouns: while it is possible to wh-move a full direct object, it is impossible to extract (a subpart of) a possessive determiner from it. The (a)-examples provide cases with the formal, genitive form wiens, while the (b)-examples provide cases with the more colloquial sequence wie z'n; in both cases pied piping is obligatory.

Example 118
a. [Wiens boek]i heeft Marie ti gelezen?
  whose book  has  Marie  read
  'Whose book has Marie read?'
a'. * Wiensi heeft Marie [ti boek] gelezen?
  whose  has  Marie  book  read
b. [Wie zʼn boek]i heeft Marie ti gelezen?
  who  his  book  has  Marie  read
  'Whose book has Marie read?'
b'. * Wiei heeft Marie [ti zʼn boek] gelezen?
  who  has  Marie  his  book  read

The examples in (119) are added in order to show that the wh-element need not be the determiner of the wh-moved noun phrase itself but can also be more deeply embedded: the wh-element wiens is the determiner of the noun phrase wiens vader, which in turn is the determiner of the wh-moved noun phrase wiens vaders boek.

Example 119
a. [Wiens vaders boek]i heeft Marie ti gelezen?
  whose fatherʼs book  has  Marie  read
  'Whose fatherʼs book has Marie read?'
b. * [Wiens vaders]i heeft Marie [ti boek] gelezen?
  whose fatherʼs  has  Marie  book  read
c. * Wiensi heeft Marie [ti vaders boek] gelezen?
  whose  has  Marie  fatherʼs book  read

We conclude from the discussion above that pied piping is a repair strategy that is put to use if wh-movement of the wh-element itself is blocked for syntactic reasons. Since we will confine ourselves in the next subsections to providing an empirical description of the contexts that disfavor wh-extraction and thus favor pied piping, we refer the reader to Corver (1990:ch.7-9) for a more theoretical discussion of the syntactic restrictions on wh-extraction (as well as a cross-linguistic examination of the relevant data).

[+]  B.  Noun phrases

Example (120a) shows again that pied piping of noun phrases can be triggered by interrogative demonstrative and possessive determiners like welke'which' and wiens'whose'; Subsection A has already shown that this may be related to the fact that it is not possible to extract determiners from noun phrases.

Example 120
a. Welk <boek> heeft Marie <*boek> gelezen?
demonstrative pronoun
  which    book  has  Marie  read
  'Which book has Marie read?'
b. Wiens <boek> heeft Marie <*boek> geleend?
possessive pronoun
  whose    book  has  Marie  borrowed
  'Whose book has Marie borrowed?'

Interrogative determiners are not only able to pied-pipe head nouns but also various other NP-internal constituents. This is especially conspicuous in the case of postnominal modifiers: while the primeless examples in (121) show that such modifiers can occur in extraposed position, the primed examples show that they must be pied-piped under wh-movement; cf. Guéron (1980). Note that the questions in the primed examples are special in that the use of the modifiers presupposes that the speaker has information enabling him to narrow down the set of potential answers: since we may assume that the addressee has greater knowledge of the situation than the speaker and consequently also has this information, explicit mention of the modifier may feel slightly forced. A more extensive discussion of the extraposition and pied-piping behavior of relative clauses can be found in Section N3.3.2.3.

Example 121
a. Jan heeft [een boek <met plaatjes>] gekocht <met plaatjes>.
  Jan has   a book    with pictures  bought
  'Jan has bought a book with pictures.'
a'. [Welk boek <met plaatjes>] heeft Jan gekocht <*?met plaatjes>?
  which book    with pictures  has  Jan bought
  'Which book with pictures has Jan bought?'
b. Jan heeft [het boek <dat hij gekocht had>] gelezen <dat hij gekocht had>.
  Jan has   the book   that he bought had read
  'Jan has read the book that he had bought.'
b'. [Welk boek <dat hij gekocht had>] heeft Jan gelezen <*dat hij gekocht had>?
  which book    that he bought has  has  Jan read
  'Which book that he has bought has Jan read?'

Subsection A has already shown that the wh-element does not have to be an immediate constituent of the pied-piped noun phrase, but can also be more deeply embedded: example (122a) illustrates this again for a possessive pronoun embedded in the determiner of a pied-piped noun phrase. Note in passing that constructions such as (122b) are sometimes judged as less felicitous because the noun phrases tend to become difficult to compute; this also holds for non-interrogative noun phrases like [[Peters moeders] auto]'Peterʼs motherʼs car'.

Example 122
a. We mogen [[haar moeders] auto] gebruiken.
  we  are.allowed     her motherʼs  car use
  'We may use her motherʼs car.'
b. [[Wiens moeders] auto] mogen we gebruiken?
  whose motherʼs  car     are.allowed  we use
  'Whose motherʼs car can we use?'

It also seems possible to embed the wh-element hoe'how' in a quantifier phrase such as veel'much/many', although this fact may be obscured by the orthographic convention to write the formation hoe + veel as a single word. The fact that hoeveel in (123b) corresponds to heel veel'very many' in (123a) strongly suggests, however, that we are actually dealing with two separate words.

Example 123
a. Marie heeft [[heel veel] boeken] gelezen.
  Marie has    very  many  books  read
  'Marie has read a great many books.'
b. Hoeveel <boeken> heeft Marie <*boeken> gelezen? Heel veel!
  how.many    books  has  Marie  read  very many
  'How many books has Marie read? Very many!'

Example (123b) also shows that the interrogative quantifier hoeveel cannot be extracted from its noun phrase, and thus provides support for the hypothesis put forward in Subsection A that pied piping can be regarded as a repair strategy. Note that extraction of hoe is also excluded: *Hoei heeft Marie [ti veel boeken] gelezen?
      Speakers occasionally seem to have varying judgments on pied piping triggered by a more deeply embedded wh-element. This can be illustrated quite nicely by examples such as (124b), in which the wh-element hoe'how' corresponds to the degree adverb erg'very' in (124a). In the earlier volume on adjectives (Section A5.2, sub I) in this series Broekhuis quoted similar examples as fully acceptable, while Corver (2003:292) has claimed that such examples allow an interpretation as echo-question only. Yet another verdict is levelled by Vos (1994:130), who assigns examples like (124b) a question mark. Clearly, it is difficult to decide whether the markedness of (124b) results from some syntactic constraint or from the computational complexity of the structure, which speakers can easily avoid by using the more or less synonymous but computationally simpler question Hoe groot is Els haar auto'How big is Elsʼ car?'.

Example 124
a. Els heeft [een [erg grote] auto].
  Els has   a   very big  car
  'Els has a very big car.'
b. % [Een [hoe grote] auto] heeft Els?
   how big  car  has  Els
  'How big a car does Els have?'

For completeness' sake, note that it is also possible to find examples such as (125) on the internet. Although Vos (1994) claims that such examples are acceptable in colloquial speech, we doubt that the construction should be considered as part of standard language as many speakers simply reject it; see Corver (2003) for a more extensive discussion of this construction.

Example 125