A Grammar of Subordinate Structures in English by Eldon G. Lytle

By Eldon G. Lytle

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There is another reason for questioning a transformation which derives relative clauses from conjoined sentences. Noun phrase relatives are only one type of clausal modifier. 3 Of these, the latter three appear to be inherently nonrestrictive, while the others may be, depending upon the referential status of the antecedent. Those who adopt the conjoined-origin hypothesis for noun phrase relatives would, for the sake of consistency and generality, need to derive all of these from conjoined sentences.

1. It is not clear how the structural relationships of modifiers in such a sequence could be handled in terms of conjunction, considering the manner in which modifiers overlap each other. The phenomena of nonrestrictivization discussed earlier is clearly related to the diminution of r'. Whether an overt relative sequence occurs or not, r' reduces to 0 during a single act of reference. e. the act of reference, is not completed until r' = 0. One might argue (in order to retain the concept of multiple occurrences of the head noun in the super- and subordinate sentences2) that r diminishes and hence nonrestrictivization does not occur immediately (no value for r being used more than once).

Still another objection can be offered against (a): The deep structure shows the entire structure as non-interrogative (the highest S), whereas the example sentence is clearly enveloped by an interrogative. It might be argued that the potential matrix S becomes the highest S after the embedding and subsequent pruning, but this is unsatisfactory - semantic interpretation is based on deep structure, not derived structure. Alternative (b) attaches Q to the wrong clause but brings to our attention a significant fact: relative clauses are declarative.

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