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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2010, Vol. 41, No. 4, Pages 563-594
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00013)
© 2010 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Against the Existence of Pied-Piping: Evidence from Tlingit
Article PDF (853.04 KB)

I argue that pied-piping, as traditionally understood, might not exist. I reanalyze classic examples from English and other well-studied languages in light of new data from Tlingit, an understudied and endangered language of Alaska. I argue that the initial appearance of piedpiping in Tlingit is misleading and actually reflects structures where no true pied-piping occurs. I then show that a similar analysis is possible for putative cases of pied-piping in other, well-known languages. Consequently, both the phenomenon of pied-piping and the grammatical mechanisms introduced to derive it might be eliminable from the theory of grammar.