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Re: Relative clauses

From:Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>
Date:Sunday, August 14, 2005, 3:42
On 8/13/05, Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> wrote:
> > >... > > 1) Do the inverse of Malagasy: require that only the subject can be > > expressed by an IHRC and use the inventory of voices to realize the > argument > > as subject. I like this one, although it forbids two IHRCs in a > sentence. > > But plenty of languages have similar restrictions, like forbidding the > > question "Who killed whom?" > > Why would this forbid two relative clauses in a sentence?
Not the subject of the relative clause; the subject of the main clause. That is, in Malagasy the external head of the relative clause is always the relative clause's subject. In our hypothetical language here, the question is the opposite: what role does the internal head play in the main clause? We could adopt the inverse of the Malagasy strategy and require that the relative clauses' internal head can only be understood as the main clause's subject. In other words, require that only the main clause's subject can be expressed as a IHRC. So, if only one participant per clause can be realized as a subject, and only main clause subjects can be heads of IHRCs, each main clause may have only one IHRC. Incidentally, this is a "funny", non-natlangy thing to do; the role that the head plays in the main clause is rarely if ever a factor in whether or not relativization is possible. Afaict the only languages that care are the equi-type ones. Actually, S11 (Tesäfköm) will work like this: the topic (=fronted
> noun) in the relative clause is the reference.
This sounds like the Malagasy pattern. (There's nothing special about Malagasy, incidentally; it just seems to be the classic example of this.) This is my "favorite" relativization construction, insofar as a non-creative linguist like myself has "favorites". I find it very elegant, for some value of elegant; it doesn't require "extra" machinery within the language to work. So long as there's a way to topicalize/front/realize-as-subject/etc. a given argument, it can be relativized upon. --------------------- Since we're on the topic of relative clauses, do your languages indicate the difference between restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses (and adjectives)? Such as, The conductor who was wearing a blue cap announced the next stop. (In which there are, for example, several conductors, and only one was wearing a blue cap.) The conductor, who was wearing a blue cap, announced the next stop. (In which the wearing of the cap is an incidental detail and not required to identify the conductor.) (This distinction is also possible with adjectives; "Those dirty Mexicans all got lice" might indicate which subset of the Mexicans were infested, or might just indicate the speaker's prejudices against Mexicans in general.) I believe in most languages this can only be distinguished by intonation (or, of course, by words like "incidentally"), but in a few it's grammaticalized. Since the fashion these days seems to be for avoidance of any ambiguity, do any of your languages distinguish this? (You meaning anyone, not Henrik in particular.) -- Patrick Littell PHIL205: MWF 2:00-3:00, M 6:00-9:00 Voice Mail: ext 744 Spring 05 Office Hours: M 3:00-6:00


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>