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11.3.2. Relative clauses
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This section discusses the role of as well as the restrictions on wh-movement in the formation of relative clauses (henceforth: relativization). Example (268) shows that relativization involves movement of some relative element such as the relative pronoun die'who' into the initial position of the relative clause; as a result, the relative element immediately follows its antecedent.

Example 268
[De man [diei ik gisteren ti ontmoet heb]] is vertrokken.
  the man  who  yesterday  met  have  is left
'The man who I met yesterday has left.'

This section is relatively brief since the reader will find an extensive discussion of relative clauses in Section N3.3.2, so that there is little need to digress on side issues. For example, it is shown there that there are virtually no restrictions on the syntactic function or the form of the wh-moved relative element; as in the case of question formation, relativization allows any clausal constituent to undergo wh-movement provided that a proper relative form is available. We will therefore focus on the movement behavior of these relative elements, subsection I starts by showing that wh-movement of the relative element is obligatory: it is not possible to leave it in situ, subsection II discusses pied piping and stranding, subsection III continues with a number of cases in which the relative element undergoes long wh-movement, and also discusses a number of island configurations, subsection IV concludes with a brief discussion of so-called cleft constructions like Het is Peter [die ik wil spreken]'It is Peter who I want to speak', as the internal structure of embedded clauses in such constructions resembles relative clauses quite closely.
      The overall conclusion of the following discussion will be that wh-phrases and relative elements exhibit similar movement behavior in most respects. There are, however, two important differences that we will mention here. First, wh-movement of relative elements applies in embedded clauses only, which is simply due to the fact that relative clauses are constituents within a noun phrase. Second, since relative clauses have at most one antecedent, they also have at most one relative element: there is no such thing as a multiple relative construction.

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[+]  I.  Wh-movement of the relative element is obligatory

There are good reasons for assuming that relative elements are like wh-phrases in that they are moved into the position preceding the complementizer. This cannot be shown for Standard Dutch, however, because the phonetic content of the complementizer is obligatorily elided in relative clauses, as is indicated in (269a) by strikethrough. It is nevertheless quite plausible, as many Flemish and Frisian dialects do allow the complementizer to be overtly expressed; see Pauwels (1958), Dekkers (1999:ch.3), Barbiers et al. (2005:section 1.3.1), Boef (2013:ch.3), and the references cited there. Example (269b) shows that movement of the relative element is obligatory; leaving it in situ results in ungrammaticality.

Example 269
a. [De man [CP diei dat [IP ik gisteren ti ontmoet heb]]] is vertrokken.
  the man  who  that yesterday  met  have  is left
  'The man who I met yesterday has left.'
b. * [De man [CP dat [IP ik gisteren die ontmoet heb]]] is vertrokken.
  the man  that yesterday  who  met  have  is left

The obligatoriness of movement can again be motivated semantically by assuming that wh-movement of the relative element creates an open proposition (that is, a one-place predicate) which can be used to modify the head noun. On this view, a relative clause is semantically similar to an attributive modifier like boze in de boze man'the angry man', which is likewise a one-place predicate. This more or lesss classical idea is attractive, of course, given that it suggests that the role of wh-movement in question formation and relativization can be unified. Although there is currently a debate going on about the question as to whether the derivation of relative clauses given in (269) is fully correct, we will simply assume that the suggested semantic motivation for wh-movement in relative clauses is on the right track and that any syntactic account of relativization should be able to accommodate it in order to be tenable; we refer to Bianchi (1999), De Vries (2002:ch.4) and Salzmann (2006:ch.1) for extensive reviews of the debate mentioned above.

[+]  II.  Pied piping and stranding

If wh-movement in relative clauses is indeed motivated by the need to create an open proposition, we would again expect that it is precisely the relative element that must be moved into clause-initial position. This raises the question as to whether wh-movement will trigger pied piping if syntactic constraints prohibit extraction. The examples in (270) show that this is indeed the case: as wh-movement of the italicized relative element would suffice to create the wanted open predicate, pied piping of the larger phrase should be motivated by appealing to a syntactic restriction that prohibits extraction of the relative element from the noun phrase wiens vader'whose father'.

Example 270
a. [De jongen [[NP wiens vader]i ik gisteren ti ontmoet heb]] is ziek.
  the boy whose father  yesterday  met  have  is ill
  'The boy whose father I met yesterday is ill.'
b. * [De jongen [wiensi ik gisteren [NPti vader] ontmoet heb]] is ziek.
  the boy  whose  yesterday  father  met  have  is ill

The restrictions on extraction of relative elements are more or lesss the same as those on extraction on wh-elements. In order to avoid a full repetition of the discussion on stranding and pied piping in Section 11.3.1.1, we will illustrate this for PPs only. The examples in (271) first show that prepositional objects like naar wie'at who' require pied piping. However, if the PP has the pronominalized form waarnaar (which is easier to get for human entities in relative clauses than in wh-questions as the result of the presence of an antecedent with the feature +human) stranding is possible and may even be preferred (although we do not have frequency data available to corroborate this).

Example 271
a. [De jongen [[PP naar wie]i je ti kijkt]] is mijn broer.
  the boy  at who  you  look is my brother
  'The boy you are looking at is my brother.'
a'. * [De jongen [wiei je [PP naar ti] kijkt]] is mijn broer.
  the boy   who  you  at  look  is my brother
b. (?) [De jongen [[PP waar naar]i je ti kijkt]] is mijn broer.
  the boy  where at  you  look  is my brother
  'The boy you are looking at is my brother.'
b'. [De jongen [waari je [PPti naar] kijkt]] is mijn broer.
  the boy   where  you  at  look  is my brother

The examples in (272) show the same thing for prepositional complementives; see P4.2.1.1 for extensive discussion of the fact that verbs of location like zitten'to sit' take a complementive. If the complement of the preposition is the interrogative pronoun wie, pied piping is obligatory, whereas stranding seems to be the preferred option in the case of pronominal PPs.

Example 272
a. De kat zit [PP bij Peter].
  the cat  sits  with Peter
  'The cat is sitting with Peter.'
b. De man [[PP bij wie]i de kat ti zit] is mijn broer.
  the man  with who  the cat  sits  is my brother
  'The man the cat is sitting with is my brother.'
b'. * De man [wiei de kat [PP bij ti] zit] is mijn broer.
  the man   who  the cat  with  sits  is my brother
c. ?De man [[PP waari bij] de kat ti zit] is mijn broer.
  the man  where  with  the cat  sits  is my brother
  'The man the cat is sitting with is my brother.'
c'. De man [waari de kat [PPti bij] zit] is mijn broer.
  the man  where  the cat  with  sits  is my brother

Postpositional complementives differ from prepositional ones in that they do not allow pied piping but require stranding of the postposition. We illustrate this in (273) by means of the complementive de boom in'into the tree'.

Example 273
a. De kat is [PP de boom in] geklommen.
  the cat is  the tree into  climbed
  'The cat has climbed into the tree.'
b. De boom [diei de kat [PPti in] geklommen is] is heel groot.
  the tree  which  the cat  into  climbed  is is very big
  'The tree which the cat has climbed into is very big.'
b'. * De boom [[die in]i de kat ti geklommen is] is heel groot.
  the tree  which  into  the cat  climbed  is  is very big

The examples in (274), finally show that circumpositional complementives such as tussen wie door must be split: the first member of the circumposition plus the wh-phrase tussen wie is preposed while the second member door stays in situ.

Example 274
a. Jan is [tussen de bewakers door] geglipt
  Jan is   between the guards  door  slipped
  'Jan has slipped past between the guards.'
b. de bewakers [[tussen wie]i Jan [ti door] is geglipt]
  the guards    between who  Jan  door  is slipped
  'the guards between whom Jan has slipped past'
b'. * de bewakers [tussen wie door]i Jan ti is geglipt]
  the guards   between who  door  Jan  is slipped

The judgments on the examples above show that, as in questions, pied piping and stranding are more or lesss in complementary distribution; the formation of wh-questions and relativization seem in fact to exhibit essentially the same pattern. This suggests that we will be able to account for the examples in (271)- (274) by adopting the set of assumptions from Section 11.3.1.1, sub VI, including the "avoid pied piping" constraint; We refer the reader to this subsection for the general line of reasoning, which can be straightforwardly applied to the examples in (271) to (274).

[+]  III.  Long Wh-movement and islands

Relativization is compatible with long wh-movement: we illustrate this in example (275) for a direct object and an adverbial phrase extracted from an object clause.

Example 275
a. de man [diei ik dacht [dat jij ti gesproken had]]
  the man   who  thought  that  you  spoken  had
  'the man who I thought that you had spoken with'
b. de stad [waari ik denk [dat jij Jan ti zal ontmoeten]]
  the city  where  think   that  you  Jan  will  meet
  'the city where I think that you will meet Jan'

As in the case of wh-question formation, long wh-movement is only possible from argument clauses; the examples in (276) show that adjunct clauses prohibit extraction of both arguments and adjuncts and should therefore be considered strong islands for wh-movement of relative elements.

Example 276
a. Ik vertrek [nadat jij je lezing gegeven hebt].
  left   after  you  your talk  given  have
  'Iʼll leave after youʼve presented your lecture.'
a'. * de lezing [diei ik vertrek [nadat jij ti gegeven hebt]]
  the talk  which  leave   after  you  given  have
  Compare: '*the talk which I will leave after youʼve presented'
b. Ik vertrek [voordat jij in Amsterdam aankomt].
  depart   before  you  in Amsterdam  arrive
  'Iʼll depart before you arrive in Amsterdam.'
b'. * de stad [waari ik vertrek [voordat jij ti aankomt]]
  the city  where  depart   before  you  arrive
  Compare: '*the city where Iʼll depart before you arrive'

Long wh-movement requires that the matrix clause contains a so-called bridge verb. Example (277b) shows for wh-questions that while long wh-movement is fully acceptable with the verb zeggen'to say', it is not easily possible with verbs of saying that express a manner component like schreeuwen'to yell'. Example (277c) shows that we find the same contrast with long wh-movement in relative clauses.

Example 277
a. Marie zegt/schreeuwt [dat Peter een auto gestolen heeft].
  Marie says/yells   that  Peter  a car  stolen  has
  'Marie says/yells that Peter has stolen a car.'
b. Wati zegt/*schreeuwt Marie [dat Peter ti gestolen heeft]?
  what  says/yells  Marie   that  Peter  stolen  has
  'What does Marie say that Peter has stolen?'
c. de auto [die Marie zegt/*schreeuwt [dat Peter ti gestolen heeft]]
  the car  which  Marie says/yells   that  Peter  stolen  has
  'the car which Marie says that Peter has stolen'

It seems, however, that the set of bridge verbs is not identical for the two constructions. While Section 11.3.1.2 has shown that object clauses selected by factive verbs like weten'to know' are weak islands for long wh-movement in wh-questions, this does not seem to hold for long wh-movement in relative clauses. A corpus of long wh-movement constructions manually collected by Jack Hoeksema in fact shows that weten is the most frequent bridge verb in relative clauses derived by long wh-movement; cf. Table 5.2 in Schippers (2012). Although Schippers does not give concrete examples that illustrate the bridge function of weten, a Google search (7/27/2014) on the search string [ die ik wist dat] shows that this construction is indeed relatively frequent; the examples in (278) provide two attested examples. Observe that example (278a) seems to show that long wh-movement of subject pronouns does not give rise to the complementizer-trace effect in relative clauses for at least some speakers; see also Van der Auwera (1984), Boef (2013:35), and Coppen (2013).

Example 278
a. Er is niemand [...] [diei ik weet [dat ti dat doet]].
  that  is nobody  who  know   that  that  does
b. Er zijn twee dingen [diei ik weet [dat ik ti niet moet doen]].
  there  are  two things   that  know   that  I   not  should  do
  'There are two things which I know I shouldnʼt do.'

It should be noted, however, that speakers seem to differ in their appreciation of relative clauses with long wh-movement. Salzmann (2006:153), for example, notes that some speakers prefer resumptive prolepsis constructions like (279) to long wh-movement constructions like (278).

Example 279
a. Er is niemand [...] [van wiei ik weet [dat hij dat doet]].
  there  is nobody   of who  know that  he  that  does
  'There is nobody of whom I know that he is doing that.'
b. Er zijn twee dingen [waari-van ik weet [dat ik zei niet moet doen]].
  there are two things  which-of  know  that  them  not  should  do
  'There are two things which I know I shouldnʼt do.'

The island-sensitivity of wh-questions and relative clauses does not differ when it comes to strong islands. We will illustrate this here for embedded questions only. Example (280a) involves an embedded polar yes/no question and (280b) shows that such clauses block long wh-movement of relative elements; the competing resumptive prolepsis construction in (280c) does give rise to an acceptable result. The examples in (281) show the same by means of an embedded wh-question.

Example 280
a. Ik vroeg me af [of Jan dat boek gelezen had].
  asked  refl  prt.   if  Jan that book  read  had
  'I wondered whether Jan had read that book.'
b. * het boek [dati ik me afvroeg [of Jan ti gelezen had]]
  the book  which  refl  prt.-wondered   if  Jan  read  had
c. het boek [waari-van ik me afvroeg [of Jan heti gelezen had]]
  the book   which-of  I   refl  prt.-wondered   if  Jan it  read  had
  'the book about which I was wondering whether Jan had read it'
Example 281
a. Ik vroeg me af [wie dat boek gelezen had].
  asked  refl  prt.   who  that book  read  had
  'I wondered who had read that book.'
b. * het boek [dati ik me afvroeg [wie ti gelezen had]]
  the book  which  refl  prt.-wondered   who  read  had
c. het boek [waari-van ik me afvroeg [wie heti gelezen had]]
  the book   which-of  I   refl  prt.-wondered   who it  read  had
  'the book about which I was wondering who had read it'
[+]  IV.  Cleft and pseudo-cleft constructions

This subsection briefly discusses wh-movement in so-called cleft and pseudo-cleft constructions. The cleft construction illustrated in (282a) is characterized by the fact that it involves the subject pronoun het'it', a contrastively focused complementive (here: je vriend) and a clause that closely resembles a relative clause. However, the clause does not function as a modifier of the complementive, as is clear from the fact that it neither restricts the denotation of the head noun vriend'friend' nor provides additional information about the referent of the definite noun phrase je vriend'your friend'. Instead, examples like (282a) express identity statements: the person who stole the book is identified as your friend. That we are not dealing with a modifier of the complementive is also clear from the fact that the clause cannot occur adjacent to it if there is a verb in clause-final position; restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses are normally possible in preverbal position. The number sign indicates that examples like (282b) cannot be interpreted as an identity statement, although it can be used to refer to a certain friend who also happens to be a thief.

Example 282
a. dat het je vriend is [die ti het boek gestolen heeft].
  that  it  your friend  is  who  the book  stolen  has
  'that it is your friend who has stolen the book.'
b. # dat het je vriend [die ti het boek gestolen heeft] is.
  that  it  your friend  who  the book stolen  has  is
  'that it is your friend who has stolen the book.'

In the linguistic literature on Dutch, cleft constructions have received little attention, which may be related to the fact that some researchers consider it a barbarism, which replaces the more regular construction that uses accent only, as in Je vriendje heeft het boek gestolen'Your friend has stolen the book'; see Paardekooper (1986:901), who seems to think that French influence plays a role here. Paardekooper analyzes the clause as an extraposed subject introduced by the anticipatory pronoun het. The reason is that it can also be preposed, as in (283a), which results in a construction that closely resembles the English pseudo-cleft construction. The fact that (283a) is more or lesss equivalent to (283b) further suggests that the clause is a free relative, and this is indeed what is suggested by Paardekooper as well as Smits (1989:section 4.2).

Example 283
a. [Die het boek gestolen heeft] is je vriend.
  who  the book  stolen  has  is your friend
  'Who has stolen the book is your friend.'
b. Degeen [die het boek gestolen heeft] is je vriend.
  the-person  who  the book  stolen  has  is your friend
  'The person who has stolen the book is your friend.'

De Vries (2002) voices some scepticism about claims that constructions of the type above should be identified with English cleft and pseudo-cleft constructions because the Dutch constructions have hardly been studied in their own right so far and it is not clear whether the findings for English carry over to Dutch. Since a detailed discussion will have to await until future research has clarified this issue, we confine ourselves here to noting that the movement of the relative-like element die into clause-initial position exhibits the hallmarks of wh-movement: the examples in (284), for instance, show that it is not clause-bound but nevertheless island-sensitive in that it cannot be extracted from an embedded question or an adjunct clause.

Example 284
a. Het is je vriend [die ik denk [dat ti het boek gestolen heeft]].
  it  is  your friend  who  think   that  the book  stolen  has
  'that it is your friend who I think has stolen the book.'
b. * Het is je vriend [die ik me afvraag [of ti het boek gestolen heeft]].
  it  is  your friend  who  refl  wonder   if  the book  stolen  has
c. * Het is je vriend [die ik huil [omdat ti mijn boek gestolen heeft]].
  it  is  your friend  who  cry  because  my book  stolen  has
References:
  • Ankelien Schippers2012Variation and change in Germanic long-distance dependenciesUniversity of GroningenThesis
  • Auwera, Johan van der1984Subject vs non-subject asymmetries in the relativization of embeded NP'sGeest, Wim de & Putseys, Yvan (eds.)Sentential complementationDordrecht/CinnaminsonForis Publications257-269
  • Barbiers, Sjef, Bennis, Hans, Vogelaer, Gunther de, Devos, Magda & Ham, Margreet van de2005Syntactic atlas of the Dutch dialectsAmsterdamAmsterdam University Press
  • Bianchi, Valentina1999Consequences of antisymmetry. Headed relative clausesBerlin/New YorkMouton de Gruyter
  • Boef, Eefje2013Doubling in relative clauses. Aspects of morphosyntactic microvariation in DutchUniversity UtrechtThesis
  • Boef, Eefje2013Doubling in relative clauses. Aspects of morphosyntactic microvariation in DutchUniversity UtrechtThesis
  • Coppen, Peter-Arno2013De zin die wij merken dat ook voor linguïstische problemen zorgtNederlandse Taalkunde18193-203
  • Dekkers, Joost1999Derivations & evaluations. On the syntax of subjects and complementizersAmsterdamUniversity of AmsterdamThesis
  • Paardekooper, P.C1986Beknopte ABN-syntaksisEindhovenP.C. Paardekooper
  • Pauwels, J.L1958Het dialect van Aarschot en omstrekenBelgisch Interuniversitair Centrum voor Neerlandistiek
  • Salzmann, Martin2006Resumptive prolepis. A study in indirect A'-dependenciesUniversity of LeidenThesis
  • Salzmann, Martin2006Resumptive prolepis. A study in indirect A'-dependenciesUniversity of LeidenThesis
  • Smits, R.J.C1989The relative and cleft constructions of the Germanic and Romance languagesTilburgTilburg UniversityThesis
  • Vries, Mark de2002The syntax of relativizationAmsterdamUniversity of AmsterdamThesis
  • Vries, Mark de2002The syntax of relativizationAmsterdamUniversity of AmsterdamThesis
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