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What is an internal relative clause?

 

Definition
 

An internal relative clause is a relative clause whose head noun phrase occurs within the relative clause itself.

 
Also known as:

Internal-headed relative clause

Discussion
 

This type of relative clause, which occurs only in SOV languages, takes the place of a regular noun phrase argument in the main clause.

 

The meaning of an internal relative clause may be ambiguous in languages that do not grammatically indicate which of the noun phrases within the relative clause is the head noun phrase.

Examples (Imbabura Quechua)
 

[kan

kwitsa

-man

kwintu

-ta

willa

-shka

-ka]

llapa

you

girl

to

story

ACCUSATIVE

tell

NOMINALIZER

TOPIC

very

 
 
sumaj -mi
pretty VALIDATOR
 

This example means either ‘The girl to whom you told the story is very pretty’ or ‘The story that you told to the girl is very pretty’.

 
Source:

Comrie 1989 146

Generic
  An internal relative clause is a kind of
 
Sources
 

Keenan 1985 143

 

Comrie 1989 145–146


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