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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2011, Vol. 42, No. 4, Pages 519-560
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00060)
© 2011 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Relabeling Heads: A Unified Account for Relativization Structures
Article PDF (176.54 KB)

A tenet of any version of phrase structure theory is that a lexical item can transmit its label when merged with another category. We assume that if it is internally merged, a lexical item can turn a clause into a nominal phrase. If the relabeling lexical item is a wh-word, a free relative results; if it is an N, a full relative results; if it is a non-wh D, a pseudorelative results. It follows that the head of a relative construction cannot be more complex than a lexical item. We show massive evidence that when it is otherwise (e.g., the book about Obama that you bought), the modifier is late-merged after the noun has moved and relabeled the structure.