Subject Relative Clauses (Feature 92)
This feature asks about two properties of relative clauses: (i) the expression of the syntactic-semantic role of the head noun in the relative clause (by a relative pronoun, a resumptive pronoun, or a gap), and (ii) the presence or absence of a relative marker which marks boundary of the subordinate clause.
Here we are asking about subject relative clauses, i.e. relative clauses in which the relativized element plays the role of subject. (See Features 93 and 94 for other relative clause types.)
A relative pronoun conflates these two functions: it both expresses the role of the head noun in the relative clause (by showing a case contrast, minimally between subject and object), and it marks the relative clause by its left-peripheral position. (E.g. the woman [whonom came]/the woman [whomacc I met]).
The role of the head noun may also be marked by a resumptive pronoun, i.e. an anaphoric pronoun that occurs in its ordinary position (”the woman (that) I gave the book to her”), or simply by a gap (the woman that I gave the book to _).
Relative clauses may be marked by an initial relative particle (the woman that I gave the book to _), but such a particle may also be missing, so that the relative clause is not overtly marked (the woman [Ø I gave the book to _]).
It is often not quite clear whether an element that introduces a relative clause (such as English that) is a relative particle or a relative pronoun. The main criterion is case-marking, or in the absence of this some other clear signs of pronounhood. English that is thus a clear example of a particle, not a pronoun.
If your language allows several different constructions for subject relative clauses, you may select several values.
Relative pronouns are not always easy to recognize and especially to distinguish from relative particles. Relative clause markers have to be examined also with other roles of the head noun (object, instrument). If the same relative clause marker is also used in object and instrument relative clauses, and these relative clause types provide evidence for pronounhood, then the subject relative clause marker also counts as a relative pronoun,
e.g. Mauritian Creole
- sizo avek ki li ti kup papye la
- scissors with which he PST cut paper ART
- 'the scissors with which he cut the paper'
Thus in Mauritian Creole subject relative marker ki is regarded as a relative pronoun because it occurs in a pied-piping construction with instrument.
If however, the other constructions with other roles provide evidence for particle status, then the subject relative clause marker is also a particle. Evidence for particle status is provided by a resumptive pronoun (assuming that relative pronouns do not generally cooccur with resumptive pronouns). For example, in Seychelles Creole:
- Sa gro delwil nwanr ki korvet i servi sa.
- DEM big oil black RELparticle corvette PM serve RES
- 'This heavy black oil which the corvette uses'.
Since Seychelles Creole also has the pied-piping construction the evidence conflicts. We regard the object relative clause as more relevant to the subject relative clause than the instrument relative clause, and hence consider ki in Seychelles Creole as a particle also in subject relative clauses. However, ki in the pied-piping instrument relative clause construction is a pronoun.
|1||Relative pronoun||Case-marked: the boy who sits over there (vs. object form: the boy whom you see over there)|
|2||Relative particle and gap||English the man [that _ came] (relative clause is marked by particle that, role of head is shown by gap _)|
|3||Relative particle and resumptive pronoun||Something like “the boy [thathe sits over there] ...” (Yoruba)|
|4||Zero and gap||Something like “the boy [Ø _ sits over there]...” (zero relative marker, role of head shown by gap)|
|5||Zero and resumptive pronoun||Something like “the boy [Ø he sits over there]...” (zero relative marker, role of head shown by resumptive pronoun)|
|6||Non-reduction||In the non-reduction strategy, the head noun appears as a full-fledged noun phrase within the relative clause (e.g. correlative: Which boy sits over there, (he) is my son, or internally headed: [The boy sits over there] is my friend.) See also Feature 7, values 3 and 4.|
|7||Other||(Please give details in the “General comments” field.)|