Thursday: 19 July: More on Subjacency/CNPC
The Complex NP Constraint
- parameterization vs. intervention effects in RCs (Kuno, Erteschik
- how to `sweeten' RC islands (quantified head nouns, finiteness)
- picture NPs (Erteschik-Shir: semantic dominance; Kuno: pragmatics;
Kuno, S. 1976:
The above discussions point to the basically semantic nature of the
phenomena that Ross tried to account for by the Complex NP Constraint.
It seems that the phenomena can be reduced to the question of how easy
or how difficult it is to interpret an NP within a complex NP as the theme
of the entire sentence. The more transparent in meaning the main clause
of the relative construction, the easier it is to interpret an NP in the
complex NP as the theme of the entire sentence. The degree of transparency
is determined by factors such as the degree to which the subject can be
presupposed (I, you, people, etc.), the degree of genericness of the
predicate (existential statements versus statements referring to specific
actions, etc.). (pp. 424-425)
The thematic constraint on relative clauses: "A relative clause must
be a statement about its head noun." (p. 420)
- ``...the more transparent the semantic content of the main clause is,
the easier it is to relativize from a complex NP5" (pp. 423-425)
Erteschik Shir, N. 1977: Chapter 2 discusses exceptions to
subjacency in the form of extractions out of relative clauses and out
of wh-islands; these are all via topicalization (this is addressed in
fn. 1 on p. 47, where it is noted that examples could have been
constructed via relativization or question formation as well,
``However, it is not the case that all examples lend themselves equally well
to both questioning and relativization as well as topicalization.".
Erteschik Shir discusses the properties that make these exceptions possible:
- "...the matrix must either be the existential operator 'there is' with an
indefinite object...or expressions such as 'we were', 'I know', or 'I have'..." (p. 36)
- "...the more complexity is introduced in the matrix, the more difficult it
is to interpret this matrix as an introducer parallel to the existential
operator...." (p. 37)
- head noun must be indefinite (p. 39)
- extraction from relative clauses works in Danish when the subject is
relativized and the element topicalized out is the direct or indirect object
Engdahl, E. 1980: The purported violations of
subjacency all involve relativization, topicalization, and D-linked
wh-questions out of (a) wh-islands and (b) sentential complement
complex NPs. Engdahl notes that extraction out of relative clauses
works only when the head noun is indefinite, when the extracted NP is
`relevant' (see Kuno and Erteschik Shir proposals), and based on
(unspecified) `semantic-pragmatic properties of the main verb.' (p.
106, fn. 4).
Erteschik Shir, N. 1981:
Probably the shortest/sweetest version of the semantic dominance
story; Kuno discusses it in the next reference.
Kuno, S. 1987:
A short selection where he proposes the `List-Head Attribute Relationship
Requirement' (3.52), p. 28.
Diesing, M. 1992:
See discussion of main clause predicates with regard to picture NPs on
pp. 109-118, 120-124.
Truswell, R. 2006: On adjunct islands and event structure.
This gets at the whole bridge vs. factive verb problem in an
Deane, P. 1991:
An attention-based approach to island constraints.
- Kuno, S. 1976. Subject, theme, and the speaker's empathy - a
reexamination of relativization phenomena. In C. N. Li (ed.),
Subject and Topic. Pp. 417-444. New York, NY: Academic Press.
- Erteschik Shir, N. 1977. On the Nature of Island Constraints.
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Linguistics Club. Chapter 2.
- Engdahl, E. 1980. Wh-constructions in Swedish and the relevance of
subjacency. In J. T. Jensen (ed.), Cahiers Linguisticques D'Ottawa:
Proceedings of the Tenth Meeting of the North East Linguistic
Pp. 89-108. Ottawa, ONT: University of Ottawa Department of
- Erteschik Shir, N. 1981. More on extractability from quasi-NPs.
Linguistic Inquiry 12: 665-670.
- Kuno, S. 1987. Functional Syntax: Anaphora, Discourse and Empathy.
Chapter 1, 'Introduction', Section 1.3, 19-29. Chicago, IL: University
of Chicago Press.
- Diesing, M. 1992. Indefinites. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Truswell, R. 2006. Extraction from adjuncts and the structure of
events. Lingua 117.8: 1355-1377.
- Deane, P. 1991. A cognitive theory of island phenomena. Cognitive
Linguistics 2 (1): 1-63.
Last Updated: July 23, 2007