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3.3.2. Relative clauses

Relative clauses serve to provide information about an antecedent like (het) boek'the book' in (81). They contain an obligatory relative element, like the relative pronoun dat'that' in (81), that is coreferential with the antecedent, which we will indicate by means of coindexation. The relative element also performs a function in the relative clause, which therefore contains an interpretative gap, which is indicated by the traceti in (81): in (81a), the relative pronoun functions as the object, and in (81b) as the subject of the relative clause. Relative clauses can be either restrictive or non-restrictive: the relative clause in (81a) is restrictive in the sense that its presence is required to enable the hearer to pick out the intended referent of the noun phrase; the relative clause in (81b) is non-restrictive, and simply provides additional information about the intended reference, which, in this case, provides the rationale for the proposition expressed by the main clause.

Example 81
a. Het boeki [RC dati ik gisteren ti gekocht heb], was erg duur.
  the book  that  yesterday  bought  have  was very expensive
  'The book that I bought yesterday was very expensive.'
b. Ik heb het boeki, [RC datiti erg duur was], maar niet gekocht.
  have  the book  which  very expensive  was  prt  not  bought
  'I havenʼt bought the book, which was very expensive, after all.'

This section on relative clauses is organized as follows. After a brief general introduction in, Section will present an overview of the various relative elements in Dutch and discuss the differences in form and function between these elements. Section will be devoted to a discussion of the differences between and properties of restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses. Finally, the last two sections will address two specific issues relating to the scope of the relative clause: Section will deal with the stacking of relative clauses, while Section will offer a detailed discussion of relative clauses with a coordinated antecedent.

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    A free Open Access publication of the corresponding volumes of the Syntax of Dutch is available at OAPEN.org.