GIST5: 'Generalizing relative strategies'


Liliane Haegeman (UGent), Boban Arsenijević (UPF),

Rachel Nye (UGent), Lieven Danckaert (UGent)


Workshop description

Relative clauses are usually thought of as a class of non-interrogative embedded clauses, the most prototypical members of which are headed relative clauses (1a) and free relatives (1b).


(1)     a.       the book [which you saw which / the book]

          b.       what you saw what


In the generative tradition, these are standardly analysed as being derived through displacement of some phrasal category, be it the antecedent of the relative clause (Vergnaud 1974), an operator (Chomsky 1977) or both (Cinque 2009). Semantically, this operation enables the moved item to take scope at the propositional level.

Over the last decades, various other types of non-interrogative embedded clauses have also been analysed as relative clauses. For instance, an operator movement analysis has been proposed for adverbial clauses such as  temporal clauses (most notably when-clauses, see Geis 1970; Larson 1987; Haegeman 2009) and conditionals (among others Lycan 2001; Bhatt & Pancheva 2006; Haegeman 2011).


(2)     a.       John left [when when he saw Mary].

          b.       John will leave [OP if OP he sees Mary].


In addition, some types of complement clauses have been argued to be derived through operator movement  (see for instance Arsenijević 2009; Kayne 2008, 2010; Haegeman & Ürögdi (2010a,b). More specifically, it has been proposed that factive complements (as in (3a)) and clausal complements to nouns (3b) are amenable to an analysis in terms of (null) operator movement:


(3)     a.       She regrets [OP that OP he didn't arrive in time].

          b.       the belief [OP that OP the earth is flat]


The goal of this workshop is to provide a stage for presentations by, and discussion among, researchers who have implemented a relative clause analysis for  syntactic structures that are not typically considered to be relative clauses. A detailed description of the workshop as well as a short bibliography can be found here.