Toward a diachronic typology of relative clause*

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A diachronic typology of relative clauses points toward two major pathways towards embedded (restrictive) REL-clauses. The first starts from chained (conjoined) clauses, the second from parenthetical non-restrictive RELclauses. In both pathways, embedded (restrictive) REL-clauses start their life as paratactic clauses under their own separate intonation contour. In both pathways, the first step in creating a complex embedded construction is merger of the erstwhile separate intonation contours of main and subordinate clause. Other dimensions of REL-clause typology, such as nominalization, demonstrative pronouns, zero anaphora, etc. intersect with these two diachronic pathways. The synchronic syntactic properties of REL-clauses are to a large extent predictable from their diachronic source, so that universals of grammar are fundamentally developmental, expressing themselves through emergence. Keywords: REL-clauses; diachronic typology; universals of grammar


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