CON: Constraint-based analysis of restrictive relative clauses in English and German

Head of the project: Prof. Dr. Anke Holler
Prof. Dr. Manfred Sailer
Prof. Dr. Gert Webelhuth
Staff: Sascha Bargmann
Christopher Götze

Short description:

The starting point of this project is the observation that, despite 40 years of research within the generative framework, no consensus has been reached concerning the correct syntactic analysis of restrictive relative clauses in English and German. The project therefore aims to bring together the conceptual and empirical strengths of the major hypotheses found in today's research (modification analysis, raising analysis, matching analysis) into one theory. Methodologically, the project will suggest that a theoretical synthesis becomes possible by implementing these existing approaches within the Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG) approach to syntax, i.e. a compatible constraint-based method of analysis. This is done in order especially (i) to capture the grammatical properties of idioms/collocations and (ii) to explain scope ambiguities with help of underspecified semantics. Additionally we will explore in what ways applying these techniques forces us to adapt standard assumptions of HPSG regarding the scope of the «information partition» of the reference element (i.e. the head) and the relative pronoun (implemented technically by the REL-feature in HPSG). The project therefore contributes both to the empirical and theoretical recognition of a core grammatical phenomenon, and to the development of a constraint-based grammar model.

Detailed project description as pdf-file (German)