Agreement and the structure of relative clauses

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Arsenijevic B., GRACANIN YÜKSEK M.

GLOSSA-A JOURNAL OF GENERAL LINGUISTICS, vol.1, no.1, 2016 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 1 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.5334/gjgl.12
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Linguistic Bibliography, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: restrictive relative clauses, non-restrictive relative clauses, hybrid nouns, agreement, null plural pronoun, SYNTAX
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The paper proposes an account of asymmetries in agreement patterns that obtain in restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses headed by hybrid agreement nouns d(j)eca 'children', braca 'brothers', and gospoda 'gentry' in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS). We note that relative clauses headed by hybrid nouns display different possibilities of agreement morphology on the relative pronoun koji/a/e 'which', depending, on the one hand, on whether the relative clause is restrictive or non-restrictive and on the other, on the case of the relative pronoun. We argue that the observed differences are the result of a conspiracy of the following factors: (i) hybrid number-agreement nouns introduce a null plural pronoun unspecified for gender (Postal 1966; den Dikken 2001; Torrego and Laga 2015), (ii) all plural case forms of the relative pronoun except for nominative and accusative show full gender syncretism (Alsina and Arsenijevic 2012b), and (iii) non-restrictive relative clauses involve a null definite pronoun and attach to the head noun higher than the restrictive relative clauses (Postal 1994; de Vries 2002; 2006). We maintain that the facts discussed in the paper argue against analyses which derive the differences between restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses from their LF representations, rather than from their overt syntax.