Article published in:Bavarian Syntax: Contributions to the theory of syntax
Edited by Günther Grewendorf and Helmut Weiß
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 220] 2014
► pp. 183–200
Observations on relative clauses in Bavarian
The central goal of this paper is to show that (some) relative pronouns in Bavarian German are better analysed as agreeing complementizers of sorts, and that this is a process fed by topicalization. More specifically, taking my cue from Felix (1985), I provide an alternative analysis to the construction Das ist der Kerl, den wenn ich erwisch erschlag ich ‘This is the guy who I’ll slay if I catch him’, which Felix analyses as a parasitic gap construction, whereby the second empty category (the parasitic gap in Felix’s terms), namely the object of erschlag, has been licensed by the postulated trace of den ‘who’ in the if-clause. The alternative analysis I offer is motivated by theoretical and empirical problems with Felix’s approach. The very fact that the so-called “relative pronoun” in the construction under investigation must appear in the left edge of the if-clause suggests that this element never leaves this clause. This is indeed what I propose. The crucial ingredients of my analysis are: (i) Bavarian (but not Standard German) has a recursive CP, where the (VP-adjoined) if-clause has moved to the specifier position of the final CP, thereby triggering inversion (i.e. verb movement to C0), much like in English (cf. Emonds 1969, 1970, 1976); (ii) the so-called ‘relative pronoun’ is in fact an agreeing complementizer of sorts; and (iii) the ‘parasitic gap’ is a null resumptive pronoun.
Published online: 26 November 2014
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