Arguments vs. adjuncts as heads of relative clauses

Whitney Anne Postman wap2 at
Fri Oct 19 19:28:03 UTC 2001

Dear Fellow Austronesianists,

I have a question about the syntactic status of heads of relative
clauses (hence, 'RCs') in Austronesian languages. Are there any
languages in this family which restrict relativization to arguments,
namely subjects and direct objects, and prohibit relativization of
oblique terms such as indirect objects?

Let me get concrete, here. Just about any NP can be relativized in
English. For example, (1), (2) and (3) are all fine.

(1) The woman [who is singing a lullaby] is holding a baby.
(2) The woman is holding a baby [who is sleeping].
(3) The baby is held by the woman [who is singing a lullaby].

In (1), the RC head is the subject of the main clause (hence 'MC').
In (2), the direct object of the MC is the head of the RC. In (3),
the RC head is the adjunct "the woman".

Does anyone know of languages which might allow structures
corresponding to (1) and (2), but disallow structures corresponding
to (3)?

Thank you in advance.

Regards to everyone,

"Each year, 26,000 people are killed or mutilated by landmines of
which 8,000 are children." -- The Canadian Landmine Foundation
To help eradicate landmines, check out
Whitney Anne Postman
Graduate Student, Ph.D. Candidate
Fields of Linguistics and Cognitive Studies, Southeast Asia Program
campus address: Morrill Hall, Dept. of Linguistics, Ithaca N.Y. 14853-4701

More information about the An-lang mailing list