This chapter looks at the marking of object relative clauses, and at the way the role of the head is indicated in them. A relative clause is defined as a clause that helps narrow the reference of a noun (the head) and in which the referent of the noun head has a semantic role.
As in chapter 92 on subject relative clauses, (direct) object relative clauses can be marked as such by a special morpheme that occurs at the beginning or end of a relative clause, which we call relative particle (see (1), where the particle wa is glossed rel). Alternatively, overt marking may be lacking (zero) (see 2).
The role of the head inside the relative clause can be indicated by a gap (no overt expression) (as in 1-2), or by a resumptive pronoun (as in 3).
Most relative clause constructions can be classified by these two parameters: Whether they are marked by a particle or not, and whether the head’s role is indicated by a resumptive pronoun or not. This yields four types of constructions (values 2-5).
In addition, there is the possibility of marking the relative clause and the head’s role by the same element, a relative pronoun, as in (4).
The relative pronoun ku marks the beginning of the relative clause, and at the same time it indicates that the head is an object inside the relative clause (it contrasts with the subject form ki).
Object relative clauses are clauses where the head has the direct object (or P) role in the relative clause (see Chapter 92 on subject relative clauses and Chapter 94 on instrument relative clauses). We distinguish the same seven subtypes that we saw for subject relative clauses, plus an eighth type, “impossible”.
|Relative particle and gap||16||37||53|
|Relative particle and resumptive pronoun||1||14||15|
|Zero and gap||5||34||39|
|Zero and resumptive pronoun||0||5||5|
The numerical distribution is quite similar for subject and object clauses. The main significant difference is that object relative clauses have the type “zero and gap” more often.
2.1 Relative pronoun
A relative-clause marker is regarded as a relative pronoun (value 1) if it has different subject and object forms (as is the case in Casamancese Creole, whose object relative clause we saw in (4)), or if its relative marker can be combined with an adposition. For example, the marker kẽ in Diu Indo-Portuguese counts as a relative pronoun because it can be combined with the preposition a, as seen in (5b).
(5b) shows a pied-piping construction, i.e. a relative clause construction where the preposition is fronted along with the relative pronoun.
2.2 Relative particle and gap
The most common way of forming object (and subject) relative clauses is by marking the relative clause with a particle and leaving the head’s role implicit via a gap (value 2). We already saw examples of this type in (1) above, and more are given below:
That the head is a direct object inside the relative clause must be inferred from the gap in postverbal position.
2.3 Relative particle and resumptive pronoun
In a number of APiCS languages, there is a relative particle and the object is indicated by a resumptive pronoun (value 3), e.g.
However, this is almost never the only option, and it is rarely the majority option. Object gaps can be recognized easily, so resumptive pronouns are not particularly important and hence not widely found world-wide (Hawkins 1999: 258). Two more examples:
Note that Nigerian Pidgin actually allows four different possibilities (values 2-5).
2.4 Zero and gap
Zero-marking with a simple gap that indicates the role of the head (value 4) is more common in object relative clauses than in subject relative clauses. This must be because object relative clauses do not introduce local ambiguity (i.e. a danger of misparsing), unlike subject relative clauses. In English-based languages, as in (11), this pattern is not surprising because it exists in English (see also (2) above).
But it is also found in non-English-based languages, e.g.
2.5 Zero and resumptive pronoun
In a few languages, the relative clause is zero-marked, but there is an overt object pronoun, which functions as a resumptive pronoun.
2.6 Other values
For the non-reduction type (value 6), see Chapter 7. The verbal-affix type (value 7) is represented by Media Lengua:
Finally, in Chinuk Wawa, object relative clauses are not possible (value 8), and instead two separate independent clauses must be used (Grant 2013).