[Lingtyp] Any references on temporal relative clauses

Microsoft.com Member jesus_olguinmartinez at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 11 00:19:45 UTC 2018

Dear all,

As you know in many languages temporal, locative, and manner adverbial clauses are structurally identical to relative clauses. This structural identity between relative clauses and adverbial clauses is not infrequent. As Thompson et al. (2007: 245) point out adverbial clauses expressing time, location, and manner can commonly be paraphrased, in many languages, “with a relative clause with a generic and relatively semantically empty head noun: time, place, and way/manner, respectively”.

I send you this message because currently I am working on a final paper for a course I am taking that explores “temporal relatives in the world´s languages”, as can be seen in the examples in (1) and (2).

Kisi (Niger-Congo/Mel; Childs 1995: 287)

(1)       ŋ̀                      cò        cììkìáŋ, lɔ́ɔ́       ŋ̀                     cò       hùnɔ́ɔ́-ó.

            1pl.sbj            aux     meet       time     2sg.sbj           aux     come-rel

            ʻWe will see  you when you come.ʼ

Araki (Austronesian/Oceanic: Vanuatu; François 2002: 182)

(2)       mo                vari-a               nunu

            3sg.real       take-3sg          shadow

            ʻHe took the photo

            lo       dani     no-m̈am        ta         mo                pa        m̈is      m̈audu             ro.

            loc     day      poss-1exc.pl  dad      3sg.real        seq      still      live                  prog

            at the time our father was still aliveʼ

What I have found so far is that this construction seems to be very frequent in many African (e.g. Eton, Koyra Chiini, Jalkunan, Fongbe, etc) and Oceanic languages (e.g. Daakaka, Toqabaqita, 'Are'are, etc.). I was wondering if you are aware of:

  1.  any paper(s) that has explore this type of construction.
  2.  any languages that have this type of construction.

Any help will be appreciated!


Jesús Olguín Martínez
Ph.D. Student, Dept. of Linguistics
University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)


Childs, G. Tucker. 1995. A Grammar of Kisi: A Southern Atlantic Language. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

François, Alexandre. 2002. Araki: A Disappearing Language of Vanuatu. (Pacific Linguistics, 522.) Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.

Thompson, Sandra, Longacre, Robert & Hwang, Shin. 2007. Adverbial Clauses. In Language Typology and Syntactic Description, Volume II: Complex Constructions, Timothy Shopen (ed.), 237-300. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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