Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 445–485 | Cite as

The gifted mathematician that you claim to be: Equational intensional ‘reconstruction’ relatives

  • Alexander Grosu
  • Manfred KrifkaEmail author
Research Article


This paper investigates relative constructions as in The gifted mathematician that you claim to be should be able to solve this equation, in which the head noun (gifted mathematician) is semantically dependent on an intensional operator in the relative clause (claim), even though it is not c-commanded by it. This is the kind of situation that has led, within models of linguistic description that assume a syntactic level of Logical Form, to analyses in which the head noun is interpreted within the CP-internal gap by reconstruction or interpretation of a lower element of a chain. We offer a solution that views surface representation as the input to semantics. The apparent inverted scope effects are traced back to the interpretation of the head nominal gifted mathematician as applying to individual concepts, and of the relative clause that you claim to be as including an equational statement. According to this view, the complex DP in question refers to the individual concept that exists just in the worlds that are compatible with what is generally supposed to be the case, is a gifted mathematician in those worlds, and is identical to you in those worlds. Our solution is related to the nonreconstructionist analysis of binding of pronouns that do not stand in a c-command relationship to their binder, as in The woman that every man hugged was his mother in Jacobson (in: Harvey, Santelmann (eds.) Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory IV:161–178, 1994) and Sharvit (in: Galloway, Spence (eds.) Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory VI:227–244, 1996), and allows us to capture both similarities with and differences from the latter type of construction. We point out and offer explanations for a number of properties of such relative clauses—in particular their need for an internal intensional operator, their incompatibility with any determiner other than the definite article, and the fact that some of their properties are shared by demonstrably distinct kinds of relative clauses.


Relative clauses Head-raising analysis of relative clauses Syntax/Semantics interface Individual concepts Definiteness 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bhatt R. (2002). The raising analysis of relative clauses: Evidence from adjectival modification. Natural Language Semantics 10: 43–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carlson G. (1977). Amount relatives. Language, 53: 540–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chierchia G. (1993). Questions with quantifiers. Natural Language Semantics 1: 181–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chomsky N. (1993). A minimalist program for linguistic theory. In: Hale K., Keyser S. (eds) The view from Building 20 Essays in linguistics in honor of Sylvain Bromberger. Cambridge MA, MIT Press, pp. 1–52Google Scholar
  5. Dayal V. (1995). Quantification in correlatives. In: Bach E. (eds) Quantification in natural language. Dordrecht, Kluwer, pp. 179–206Google Scholar
  6. de Swart, H. (1991). Adverbs of quantification: A generalized quantifier approach. University of Groningen. Also published by Garland, New York, 1993.Google Scholar
  7. Doron, E. (1983). Verbless predicates in Hebrew. PhD dissertation, University of Texas, Austin.Google Scholar
  8. Doron E. (1986). The pronominal ‘copula’ as agreement clitic. In: Borer H. (eds) The syntax of pronominal clitics, syntax and semantics 19. New York, Academic Press, pp. 313–332Google Scholar
  9. Engdahl E. (1986). Constituent questions. The syntax and semantics of questions with special reference to Swedish. Dordrecht, D. Reidel Publishing CompanyGoogle Scholar
  10. Groenendijk J., Stokhof M. (1983). Interrogative quantifiers and Skolem functions. In: Ehlich K., van Riemsdijk H. (eds) Connectedness in sentence, discourse and text. Tilburg, Tilburg University PressGoogle Scholar
  11. Grosu A. (1994). Three studies in locality and case. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Grosu A. (2000). Type resolution in relative constructions. Competing restrictive and maximalizing constructions. In: Bennis Everaert, Reuland (eds) Interface strategies. Royal Netherlands, Academy of Arts and SciencesGoogle Scholar
  13. Grosu A. (2002). Strange relatives at the interface of two millenia. GLOT International 6: 145–167Google Scholar
  14. Grosu A. (2003). A unified theory of ‘standard’ and ‘transparent’ free relatives. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 21: 247–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grosu A. (2007). Direct vs. indirect approaches to transparent free relatives. In: Alboiu G. (eds) Pitar Mos: A building with a view. Papers in honour of Alexandra Comilescu. Bucharest, University of Bucharest PressGoogle Scholar
  16. Grosu, A., & Krifka, M. (2004). The brilliant mathematician you claim to be. The semantics of modal compatibility relative clauses. Paper Presented at Sinn and Bedeutung 9, Nijmegen.Google Scholar
  17. Grosu A., Landman F. (1998). Strange relatives of the third kind. Natural Language Semantics 6: 125–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gupta A. (1980). The logic of common nouns: An investigation in quantified modal logic. New Haven, Yale University PressGoogle Scholar
  19. Huddleston R.D., Pullum G. (2002). The Cambridge grammar of the English language. Cambridge, Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  20. Hulsey S., Sauerland U. (2006). Sorting out relative clauses. Natural Language Semantics 14: 111–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jacobson, P. (1994). Binding connectivity in copular sentences. In M. Harvey & L. Santelmann (Eds.), Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory IV, 161–178.Google Scholar
  22. Jacobson, P. (2002a). Direct compositionality and variable-free semantics: The case of binding into heads. In B. Jackson (Ed.), Proceedings of the Conference on Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) VII.Google Scholar
  23. Jacobson P. (2002b). The (dis)organization of the grammar: 25 years. Linguistics and Philosophy 25: 601–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kirwan,J. (2006). Something is terribly wrong with this country! URL Retrieved: 15 Aug 2007.Google Scholar
  25. Krifka M. (1990). Four thousand ships passed through the lock: Object-induced measure functions on events. Linguistics and Philosophy 13: 487–520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lasersohn P. (2005). The temperature paradox as evidence for a presuppositional analysis of definite descriptions. Linguistic Inquiry 36: 128–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Link G. (1979). Montague-Grammatik. Die logischen Grundlagen. Fink, MünchenGoogle Scholar
  28. Link G. (1983). The logical analysis of plurals and mass terms: A lattice-theoretical approach. In: Bäuerle R., Schwarze C., von Stechow A. (eds) Meaning, use and the interpretation of language. Berlin New York, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 303–323Google Scholar
  29. Löbner S. (1979). Intensionale Verben und Funktionalbegriffe. Tübingen, NarrGoogle Scholar
  30. McNally, L., & Van Geenhoven, V. (2005). On the property analysis of opaque complements. Lingua, 885–914.Google Scholar
  31. Montague R. (1973). The proper treatment of quantification in ordinary English. In: Hintikka K.J.J., Moravcsik J.M.E., Suppes P. (eds) Approaches to natural language. Dordrecht, Reidel, pp. 221–242Google Scholar
  32. Partee B. (1987). Noun phrase interpretation and type-shifting principles. In: Groenendijk J. (eds) Studies in discourse representation theory and the theory of generalized quantifiers. Dordrecht, Foris, pp. 115–143Google Scholar
  33. Paprocki,M. (2004). Plumbers don’t wear ties. URL Retrieved: 15 Aug 2007.Google Scholar
  34. Potts C. (2005). The logic of conventional implicature. Oxford, Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  35. Rothstein S. (2001). Predicates and their Subjects. Dordrecht, KluwerGoogle Scholar
  36. Saunders J.R. (1997). Tightrope walk: Identity, survival and the corporate world in African American literature. Jefferson, NC, McFarland & CoGoogle Scholar
  37. Sharvit, Y. (1996). Functional dependencies and indirect binding. In T. Galloway & J. Spence (Eds.), Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) VI, 227–244.Google Scholar
  38. Sharvit Y. (1999). Functional relative clauses. Linguistics and Philosophy 22: 447–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sharvy R. (1980). A more general theory of definite descriptions. The Philosophical Review 75: 607–624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. van Geenhoven V. (1998). Semantic incorporation and indefinite descriptions. Semantic and syntactic aspects of noun incorporation in West Greenlandic. CSLI Publications, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  41. von Stechow, A. (1990). Layered traces. Unpublished Presentation at Conference on Logic and Language, Revfülöp, Hungary.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsTel Aviv UniversityTe AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Humboldt Universität zu Berlin & Zentrum für Allgemeine SprachwissenschaftBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations