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Title: Persian Relative Clauses in Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar
Authors: Taghvaipour, Mehran A.
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Indo-Iranian Languages
Persian - Grammar
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: University of Essex
Abstract: This thesis studies persian relative clauses (RCs) and proposes a constraint-based analysis for these constructions in Persian in the framework of Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG). Persian RCs are 'head-modifying' constituents in the sense that they follow the NP they modify. All Persian RCs are typically introduced by the invariant complementizer ke. They contain either a gap or a resumptive pronoun (RP) that is linked to and licensed by a higher structure in which the RC modifies an NP. In some positions only gaps are allowed, and in some other positions only RPs. There are also some positions where both gaps and RPs are allowed. Apart from the distributional differences between gaps and RPs in Persian RCs, the two show striking similarities as well. The data illustrate that in coordinate structures, it is possible to have gaps in both conjuncts, Rps in both conjuncts, or a gap in one conjunct and a Rp in the other (in any order). Examples from parasitic gaps, island constraints, and crossover phenomena also provide further support in respect of the similarity of gaps and RPs in Persian Rcs. The study provides a unified HPSG approach to take care of the dependency between the licensing structure and the gap or RP with a single mechanism, using only the SLASH feature. I shall propose two alternative analyses: one with traces and the other without. The analysis with traces is similar to Pollard and Sag's (1994) approach at the bottom of the unbounded dependency. I will assume a special sign at the bottom which may have a nonempty PHON value. I will introduce a feature called GAPTYPE which is a NONLOCAL feature whose value con be either trace or rp. I will introduce two constraints to capture the pattern of distribution of RPs and traces. At the top of the dependency, I will bind the nonempty SLASH at the complementizer point. I will propose a lexical entry for the complementizer ke that will account for the binding of SLASH by the feature BIND, which has a non-empty set as value. In the traceless analysis, I will propose a hierarchy for sysnsem which assumes that the synsem of RPs is of the type rp-ss. This subtype is a mixed category in the sense that it inherits some of its properties from gap-ss and some from canon-ss. In this way, a RP can be a overt sign while containing a non-empty SLASH feature whose value is shared with the LOCAL feature of the noun modified by the RC. For this analysis, some constraints are also proposed to take care of the pattern of distribution of gaps and RPs. The thesis also studies free relatives (FRs) in Persian. Some properties of Persian FRs are discussed. FRs are compared and contrasted with noun phrases, ordinary relative clauses (RCs), and interrogative complements (embedded questions). The pattern of distribution of gaps and RPs in Persian FRs is also discussed and the differences between this pattern and that of the gaps and RPs in ordinary Rcs are highlighted. Then, the 'matching effect' in FRs is studied and examples of categorial matching effects as well as some sort of case matching with ra are explored. Chapter 9 of this thesus studies various HPSG approaches on free relatives in German and English. For German, two works are reviewed: Kim (2001) and Wright and Kathol (2003). This chapter also provides an analysis for Persian free relatives in the HPSG framework. The analysis assumes that Persian free relatives have two parts: a filler (the relative phrase) and a non-head (the slashed sentential part). The semantic content of the whole construction is determined by the content of the filler as illustrated by the structure sharing of the feature F-REL between the relative phrase and the whole free relative clasue. The pattern of distribution of gaps and resumptive pronouns is also handled by some constraints. In the final chapter, I will summarise the thesis and discuss some issues for further research.
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