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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2004, Vol. 35, No. 2, Pages 288-300
(doi: 10.1162/002438904323019084)
© 2004 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Semitic Relatives
Article PDF (92.62 KB)
Abstract

This article evaluates a promotion-based analysis for Semitic relatives along the lines of Kayne 1994 and compares it with an alternative analysis that does not make use of promotion but shares with Kayne's analysis an antisymmetric view of phrase structure. The alternative analysis is based on establishing a parametric distinction relating to categorial identity of the relative clause such that it is a CP in some languages and a DP in others. The first type is found in languages where the relative complementizer is the same as the normal complementizer of sentential complementation (e.g., Hebrew). The second type is found in languages where the relative complementizer is a determiner (e.g., Amharic and Arabic). This difference is shown to have crucial implications for the structure and derivation of N-initial and N-final relatives, as well as for some relevant typological generalizations, including a generalization relating to the phenomenon of (relative) clause nominalization.