[Lingtyp] Narrative relative clauses

Philippe Bourdin pbourdin at yorku.ca
Wed May 9 20:24:10 EDT 2018

Dear Juergen,

To stick to English and to paraphrase you, it seems to me that when the 
antecedent is a participant of the matrix event, there are a couple of 
routinized lexical devices specialized in making the event relation 

(1a) /Sally gave the cup to Floyd, who proceeded //to smash it to pieces. /

(1b) /Sally gave the cup to Floyd, who went on //to smash it to pieces. /

Intuitively, what's distinctive about such devices is that they seem to 
have a very special affinity with this type of relative clause — a 
property that run-of-the-mill adverbs such as /immediately/ or /then/ 
may not have, at least not to the same extent.

Let me pursue the same thread a little bit. I'm not a native speaker of 
English, but my sense is that there may well be a slight difference in 
acceptability between (2a) and (2b) and between (3a) and (3b):

(2a) /Sally gave the cup to Floyd. He then proceeded //to smash it to 

(2b)   (?) /Sally gave the cup to Floyd. He proceeded //to smash it to 

(3a) /Sally gave the cup to Floyd. He then went on //to smash it to pieces.

(3b)   (?) /Sally gave the cup to Floyd. He went on //to smash it to 
pieces. /

It's as if, to borrow Anna's term, the relative pronoun in (1a) and (1b) 
exerted all by itself sufficient cohesive force to license /proceeded/ 
and /went on/. When you change the hypotactic relation into a paratactic 
one, it might be a bit more natural to insert a cohesive prop, i.e. 
/then/ (or /immediately/). But that's a just a hunch and I stand to be 
corrected by native speakers as to the difference in acceptability, 
which is admittedly very slight.

In any event, if /proceed /and /go on /do have the function I'm 
attributing to them, this would nicely bring symmetry into the system 
you propose, at least for English.



Philippe Bourdin
Professeur agrégé / Associate professor
Département d'études françaises
et Programme de linguistique
Bureau YH 264
Collège Glendon / York University
2275 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, ON, Canada M4N 3M6

On 2018-05-09 10:38 AM, Giacalone Ramat Anna wrote:
> Dear Juergen,
> in my paper "Persistence and renewal in the relative pronoun paradigm: 
> the case of Italian", Folia Linguistica Historica 26, 2005, 115-138, I 
> discuss narrative relative clauses and their function in Old Italian. 
> I suggest that the emergence and diffusion of relative pronoun /il 
> quale/ in Old Italian was modeled  on the Latin "connecting relative" 
> (Rosén) or relativischer Anschluss (Lehmann) . It was used as a device 
> to enhance text cohesion..
> Best
> Anna
> Anna Giacalone Ramat
> Professor Emerita of Linguistics
> The University of Pavia
> Academia Europaea
> Honorary Member of the Societas Linguistica Europaea
> Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici
> Strada Nuova 65
> I-27100-Pavia
> tel. +39 0382 984486
> email: annaram at unipv.it <mailto:annaram at univ.it>
> https://www.academia.edu/34500598/CV_CURR
> 2018-05-08 21:10 GMT+02:00 Bohnemeyer, Juergen <jb77 at buffalo.edu 
> <mailto:jb77 at buffalo.edu>>:
>     Dear colleagues -- I’m looking for any leads regarding both
>     in-depth single-language and typological studies on a phenomenon
>     one might refer to under the makeshift labels ‘narrative relative
>     clauses’ or ‘eventive relative clauses’. I will stick here to the
>     former label (NRCs), since the latter is more ambiguous. NRCs are
>     a type of non-restrictive RCs that distinguish themselves from
>     other kinds of non-restrictive RCs by standing in a narrative
>     rhetorical relation to the matrix clause (or put differently, by
>     advancing a narrative story line to which the matrix clause also
>     contributes). Based on European languages, some subtypes could be
>     distinguished based on (i) the “antecedent” of the RC - the matrix
>     clause referent the RC picks up - and (ii) the expression of the
>     semantic relation between the matrix and RC events:
>             • Antecedent is a participant of the matrix event; event
>     relation implicit:
>               Sally gave the cup to Floyd, who smashed it to pieces
>             • Antecedent is the matrix event itself; event relation
>     implicit:
>               Sally gave the cup to Floyd, which irritated Sam
>             • Antecedent is the matrix event itself; event relation
>     explicit:
>               Sally gave the cup to Floyd, whereupon Sam left the room
>     in disgust
>     B and C are presumably structurally distinct from ordinary
>     (non-restrictive) RCs. On the other hand, A-type NRCs are
>     interesting for the form-meaning mismatch or semantic-pragmatic
>     mismatch they involve. A more technical definition of NRCs might
>     be as follows:
>             • Constructions involving a matrix clause and a dependent
>     clause;
>             • The dependent clause should share some of the
>     language-specific properties of RCs that set them apart from other
>     types of dependent clauses/predications in the particular languages;
>             • The matrix clause event and the dependent clause event
>     are causally related and/or spatio-temporally contiguous.
>     I fully expect that the pragmatic functions of NRCs can be
>     partially or wholly fulfilled by other clause combination
>     constructions that do not have the language-specific trappings of
>     RCs. Such functionally related alternative means are very much
>     part of the interest driving this investigation.
>     Thank you in advance for any leads on this topic! -- Best — Juergen
>     -- 
>     Juergen Bohnemeyer, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate
>     Studies
>     Department of Linguistics and Center for Cognitive Science
>     University at Buffalo
>     Office: 642 Baldy Hall, UB North Campus * Mailing address: 609
>     Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260
>     Phone: (716) 645 0127
>     Fax: (716) 645 3825 * Email: jb77 at buffalo.edu
>     <mailto:jb77 at buffalo.edu> * Web:
>     http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jb77/
>     <http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/%7Ejb77/>
>     Office hours Tu 2-3:20 /Th 2:30-3:20
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