Isaac Gould and I have investigated the structure and interpretation of head-internal relative clauses in Japanese and their lesser-studied doubly-headed variants. We present new evidence that these relatives are best analyzed as definite descriptions, rather than through E-type anaphora, and present an analysis that accounts for their readings in different contexts. In our most recent work, we propose a novel DP head-raising derivation for relative clauses that takes advantage of the Copy Theory of movement and the late-merger of relative clauses. This allows for the unification of head-internal and doubly-headed relativization strategies with the familiar head-external form, which would otherwise not be possible.
Erlewine and Gould, 2016.
“Unifying Japanese relative clauses: copy-chains and context-sensitivity.”
Glossa 1:51, pages 1–40. DOI: 10.5334/gjgl.174
Erlewine and Gould, 2014.
“Interpreting Japanese Head-Internal Relative Clauses.”
Proceedings of the 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 31), pages 160–169.
More recently, I have investigated the derivation of Tibetan relative clauses and the functions of the “nominalizer” morphemes involved. Previous work on Tibetan such as DeLancey 1999 describe different “nominalizer” morphemes used for the relativization of subjects, locative/goals, instruments, and themes. New data from long-distance relatives shows that so-called “nominalizers” are comprised of two distinct classes of morphemes: the historically oldest marker, -pa, always appears at the edge of the entire relative clause, whereas the other morphemes reflect a particular type of local extraction. I also argue that relativization cannot be reduced to nominalization, contrary to previous descriptions.
“Patterns of relativization in Austronesian and Tibetan.”
Presented at the University of Helsinki, the Workshop on Comparative Syntax in East and Southeast Asia at Sogang University, the University of Edinburgh, and Goethe University of Frankfurt.
“Long-distance relativization in Tibetan.”
Presented at LSA 93.
Relativization in many languages is subject to extraction restrictions. Kenyon Branan and I argue that A’-probing that is restricted to the closest DP underlies many apparent subject-only restrictions on relativization, including many in the Keenan & Comrie survey of relativization strategies as well as in Turkish and Rejang (Indonesia).
Branan and Erlewine, to appear.
“Ā-probing for the closest DP.”
Linguistic Inquiry. DOI: 10.1162/ling_a_00459