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On the Quantificational Force of English Free Relatives

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Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP,volume 54)

Abstract

The late 70’s and early 80’s witnessed considerable debate as to the correct syntactic analysis of free relatives in English and other languages with a similar construction: is the internal structure of an NP free relative basically like that of an ordinary NP, or is its internal structure instead like that of other wh constituents such as wh questions? The underlying concern surrounding this debate was whether the gap in a free relative could be analyzed as the result of wh movement; this question in turn, of course, bore on the status of Subjacency and on the feasibility of reducing a large class of phenomena to wh movement. But the correct syntactic analysis of free relatives also has significant implications for the syntax/semantics map and for the theory of NP meanings, and it is to this question that this paper is addressed. In particular, I wikk present some ecidence suggesting that English free relatives do indeed have the internal strcture of other wh constituents — they contain no overt lexical head and therefore also contain no overt quantificational element.1 Just how and why, then, du these have NP-type meanings and — given the claim that there is no overt lexical quantifier — what is it that supplies them with their particular quantificational force?

Keywords

  • Relative Clause
  • Free Relative
  • Lexical Meaning
  • Relative Pronoun
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These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

For helpful discussion, I would like to thank David Dowty, Angelika Kratzer, Barbara Partee, and Ellen Prince. I especially want to thank John Richardson, both for discussion and for making available to me a draft of his dissertation which has proved invaluable. Many of the points touched on here are discussed in greater depth there. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Symposium on Cross-Linguistic Quantification at the LSA Annual Meeting, December, 1988; comments from the audience and especially from the discussant Angelika Kratzer have been extremely helpful. Since this paper was originally written there have been a number of works of relevance to the points herein; one which deserves special mention is Srivastav-Dayal (to appear) which considers a number of related issues in the analysis of Hindi. This research was supported by NSF grant BNS90-14676.

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Jacobson, P. (1995). On the Quantificational Force of English Free Relatives. In: Bach, E., Jelinek, E., Kratzer, A., Partee, B.H. (eds) Quantification in Natural Languages. Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy, vol 54. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-2817-1_15

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-2817-1_15

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