LIP: The left periphery of relative clauses

Head of the project: Prof. Dr. Helmut Weiß
Staff: Dr. Ewa Trutkowski

Short description:

This project analyzes relative clauses with reference to the structural features of the left clausal periphery and discourse-semantic (information structure) effects. The following three topics will be studied from a synchronic and diachronic perspective:

  1. The structural representation of the relative operator (as phonologically overt pronoun or empty category) and its interaction with relative complementizers.
  2. The positions of complementizers and operators with respect to those of left-peripheral, topicalized, and focused categories as well as left-peripheral wh-elements in wh-questions.
  3. Relative clause-Pied-piping: the question of whether the relative operator is located in the left periphery of the infinitive or in the left periphery of the finite matrix sentence, and its diverse consequences for the structure of the left periphery of relative clauses.

The present project will support structural analyses with new empirical evidence, especially recognizing diachronic and dialectal data as an important data source for theoretical syntax. Since the dialectal syntax of Germanic and Romance languages involves a system of overt complementizers, the research domain will be at first limited to these languages. The theoretical arsenal for analysis involves a «cartographic» theory of the extended left periphery.

Detailed project description as pdf-file (German)