Syntax and Semantics of Relative Clauses

  • Renate Bartsch
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 4b)


It is a widely accented assumption that the difference between restrictive and non-restrictive relative clause constructions should be expressed in their syntactic categorical structure as well as in their semantics. This view is held, e.g., by Rodman (1972). There, a syntactic function combines a common noun and a sentence to form a complex common noun in the case of restrictive relative clauses, and, in the case of non-restrictive relative clause construction, a syntactic function combines a term (noun phrase with determiner or a proper name) with a sentence to form a complex term. Rodman formulates this assumption in a Montague grammar in a way that rests on the transformational approaches to relative clause constructions. He thus has to formulate conditions that say under which circumstances which elements of a sentence can be relativized, namely, within a relative clause no other element can be relativized and in the case of non-restrictive constructions, a further restriction has to be imposed to the effect that coreference between the governing term and the relativized element has to be assumed.


Relative Clause Definite Description Head Noun Main Clause Subordinate Clause 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renate Bartsch
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AmsterdamNetherlands

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