This paper argues for a semantic account of ungrammatical extractions from ob(‘whether’)-complement clauses in German. Relying on Partition Semantics for a se-mantic characterisation of wh-questions (cf. e.g. Groenendijk and Stokhof 1984) and the concept of index dependency of propositions denoted by [+wh]-complement clauses (cf. Groenendijk and Stokhof 1982), it is argued that the ungrammatical extraction constructions are “defective” on logico-semantic grounds as they can get an interpretation under which no alternative answer opened up by the question can be excluded. By relying on e.g. Fox and Hackl’s (2006) assumptions on contextual blindness (the term being used by Magri 2009), the semantic violation is treated as a constraint that can only be circumvented by evoking contextually invariable means. It is argued that the latter aspect can manifest itself in the occurrence of resumptive pronouns in the extraction domain.
© School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland, 2011