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Re: Relative clauses

From:Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>
Date:Tuesday, August 16, 2005, 3:06
On 8/15/05, Carsten Becker <naranoieati@...> wrote:
> > OK, once again for linguistic wannabes like me: > > Patrick Littell wrote: > > > 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. > > Malagasy: (S is the subject, s is dropped) > > S V O [s V O] > \_____^ > > where the subject of both clauses is the subject of the main > clause. Does that mean if you want to refer the relative > clause to an object, you must make it a subject with the > help of voices and such (passive, applicative)?
That is correct, almost. You are correct in your question -- this is exactly what occurs. Ph.D's notes oughta make it a little more clear to you. The subject of the relative clause may, incidentally, be anything in the main clause. Malagasy (and almost all languages) put no restrictions on the role a head may play in the main clause. So you can have V O S [ V O ], where the S is the relative clause's subject, or V O [ V O ] S, where the O is the relative clause's subject, and so on. The external head may play any role in the main clause, but can only be the relative clause's subject. There's a rough rule of thumb, although probably not enough to be a universal tendency, that when a language has a strong restriction on what may be relativized, it also provides voices to help move other roles into the acceptable grammatical relations. There's a fairly strong universal tendency of the form that given the following rough hierarchy of roles: Subject => Object => Indirect Object => Oblique A language will allow relativization upon only a prefix of these... that is, it may just allow relativization upon subjects, or upon subjects and objects, or upon the first three, or upon all of them. I can't recall the exact hierarchy, but that's the gist of it. There are a handful of exceptions. Take an example of the first. Malagasy only allows relativization of subjects. Not so bad; Malagasy also has enough voices that you can relativize pretty much anything you need to. Or the second... Kinyarwanda only allows relativization upon subjects and objects, so in Yohani yanditse ibaruwa n-ikaramu Jown wrote letter with-pen. you can't relativize upon "pen". But there's a sort of applicative voice that will realize the instrument as an object like so: Yohani yandikishije ikaramu ibaruwa. John wrote pen letter. And so now you can relativize pen: Nabonye ikaramu [ Yohani yandikishije ibaruwa ]. I saw pen [ John wrote letter ]. "I saw the pen with which John wrote the letter". This example is from the aforementioned Comrie [1989]. And what you suggest (to?) Henrik is:
> > [S V O] s V O > \______^ > > where the subject of the relative clause is the same as the > subject of the main clause only that it is inside the > relative clause. > > Did I understand this correctly? Then it would be clear why > each main clause can only have one relative clause: A > sentence cannot have more than one subject if I understood > that correctly.
Pretty much, I think. Note again that this is a "funny", rather unnatural restriction upon relativization. What I specifically proposed was that the head could play any (allowed) role in the relative clause, but only play the subject in the main clause. If we restrict *both* to subjects, that's an equi-type relative clause, which *does* exist. But they're rare, and may not really be the same sort of construction as the rest of the world's relative clause. You get them in Australian languages, although I don't really know which ones -- Dyirbal? -- and the fact that the equality restriction is the same one for noun-phrase-dropping in a conjoined clause suggests to me that maybe a different process is at work. -- 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