Relative clauses

Alois Heuboeck a.heuboeck at
Tue Mar 6 22:29:35 UTC 2012

Dear Funknetters,

I'm interested in discursive (or: 'rhetorical', in a wider sense) 
functions of relative clauses. Here are three examples:

(1) The branch of the metaphysics of modality with <b>which</b> I will 
be concerned with is the question of the ontological basis of 
metaphysical modality.
(2) To a large extent these objections will be dealt with by denying the 
authority of intuition in these domains , but I will also sketch an 
account of counterlegal statements <b>which</b> allows some of them to 
come out as not trivially true .
(3) That it took until 1836 to enact specific legislation against ' 
thuggee ' is a further measure of the extent to <b>which</b> Sleeman and 
Smith were able to organise and expand relatively freewheeling 
operations against ' thuggee ' in the early 1830s , evading the 
restraining influence of the Judicial Department .

I read all three as restrictive relative clauses. In pre-theoretical 
terms I'd point out the functional differences I'm interested in in the 
following way:

(1) acts as a 'filter' in that one out of many (possible or actually 
existing) branches is selected;
(2) is descriptive in the sense that there's only one account sketched, 
which is further qualified (a reading as 'filter' like (1) is 
syntactically possible, but seems rather implausible here);
in (3), 'extent to which' forms a functional unit with the effect of 
providing a particular focus on S & S's ability to organize..., rather 
than focusing on qualification of 'extent', as the syntactic surface 
might suggest.

I'd be grateful for pointers to theoretical frameworks that would allow 
me to analyze that sort of functional difference, or, indeed, any 
comments on your analysis of these functions.

With thanks in advance,

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