On the locality of complement clause and relative clause extraposition

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In this paper, I shall discuss the locality restrictions of complement clause versus relative clause extraposition, contributing to a recent debate on the (non)locality of complement extraposition in German (Kiss 2005; Müller 2004). Based on an in-depth reexamination of the main evidence, I shall conclude that nonlocal complement extraposi­tion from deeply embedded complex NPs is possible in general, but differs from relative clause extraposition with respect to the semantic and prosodic licensing required. Together with the observation that the two constructions differ also with respect to adjunct islands and that extraposed relative clauses can attach to split antecedents, I shall conclude that relative clause extraposition is best conceived of as an anaphoric process, whereas nonlocal complement extraposition shares a great degree of similarity with leftward movement from NP.Finally, I shall provide a formal analysis of the two extraposition types that synthesises Kiss’s anaphoric approach to relative clause extraposition with Keller’s (1995) movement approach: Using a single percolation mechanism, common properties of both constructions can easily be captured, while differences in locality are accounted for by imposing different constraints on the amount of information being percolated.


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