Extraposed relative clauses

Roger Levy rog at STANFORD.EDU
Wed Jun 18 07:54:16 UTC 2003

Dear typologists,

I'm interested in the cross-linguistic distribution of the extraposed
relative clause, tentatively defined as a phrase internally
indistinguishable from ordinary (adjacent) relative clauses, but separated
from the noun phrase it modifies by intervening material that is not part of
the noun phrase.  (This definition would seem to exclude internally headed
relative clauses, though I would be very interested to hear about
discontinuously realized cases of these!) I know that RC extraposition
occurs in English, German, and Russian:

  A woman arrived who was wearing a red hat.

  Er hat das Buch hingelegt, das  Lisa gestern   gekauft hatte.
  He has the book laid-down, that Lisa yesterday bought  had.
  "He put down the book that Lisa had bought yesterday."

  On imenno  tot  dom    kupil,  kotoryj emu i   byl nuzhen.
  He exactly that house  bought, that    him and was necessary.
  "He bought precisely the house that he needed."

(The German example is due to Lars Konieczny.)

As far as I know, in all these cases the extraposition must be rightward.

If you know whether a particular language allows or disallows relative
clause extraposition, I would be very grateful for brief information on the
language and the facts (ordinary RC position, direction of extraposition, if
any, plus an example, would be excellent!).  I am very interested in
negative examples -- languages that seem to disallow extraposition -- as
well as positive examples of languages allowing extraposition.  Any
references to broader work on the topic would of course be much appreciated!
 I will post a summary of responses.

Many thanks,

Roger Levy

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