Formal linking in internally headed relatives

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This paper aims to clarify and resolve issues surrounding the so-called formal linking problem in interpreting the Internally Headed Relative Clause construction in Korean and Japanese, a problem that has been identified in recent E-type pronominal treatments of the construction (e.g., Hoshi, K. (1995). Structural and interpretive aspects of head-internal and head-external relative clauses. PhD dissertation, University of Rochester; Shimoyama, J. (2001). Wh-constructions in Japanese. PhD dissertation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst). In the literature, this problem refers to the difficulty of capturing the delimited semantic variability of the E-type pronoun present in the embedding clause of the construction. I show that the E-type pronoun at issue is subject to a different licensing condition from a typical E-type pronoun and therefore presents a different linking problem. More specifically, it requires that the embedded clause describe a state of its antecedent and its descriptive content be supplied by a salient property represented in the logical form of the embedded clause. I propose an event-based semantic analysis that derives the effects of this novel generalization by establishing a binding relation between the event structure of the embedded clause and the denotation of the E-type pronoun.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-315
Number of pages37
JournalNatural Language Semantics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • E-type pronoun
  • Formal linking problem
  • Internally Headed Relatives


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