Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2211-6834
  • E-ISSN: 2211-6842
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This paper explores the syntactic status of and () () relativizers, i.e. what are standardly referred to as relative complementizers and relative pronouns, in Old and Modern Italian and Italian varieties and proposes a unified analysis for both types of items. It takes into account the ongoing debate regarding the categorial status of relativizers (Kayne 197520082010Lehmann 1984Manzini & Savoia 20032011, among many others) and aims at showing that what we call complementizers are not C0 heads, as commonly assumed. Instead, we propose that both relative “complementizers” and “pronouns” have the same categorial status, i.e. they are -items and are part of the relative clause-internal head.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. ASItAtlante sintattico d’Italia. University of Padua: asit.maldura.unipd.it/
    [Google Scholar]
  2. OVIOpera del vocabolario italiano. University of Chicago: artfl-project.uchicago.edu/
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y.
    (2008) Versatile cases. Journal of Linguistics44. 565–603. 10.1017/S002222670800532X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S002222670800532X [Google Scholar]
  4. Bacskai-Atkari, Julia
    (2014) Cyclical change in Hungarian comparatives. Diachronica31.4: 465–505. 10.1075/dia.31.4.01bac
    https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.31.4.01bac [Google Scholar]
  5. (2016) On the diachronic development of a Hungarian declarative complementiser. Transactions of the Philological Society114.1: 95–116. 10.1111/1467‑968X.12069
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-968X.12069 [Google Scholar]
  6. Barbato, Marcello
    (2001) Il libro viii del Plinio napoletano a cura di Giovanni Brancati. Napoli: Liguori.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Benincà, Paola & Guglielmo Cinque
    (2010) La frase relativa. In: Renzi Lorenzo & Gian Paolo Salvi (eds.). Grammatica dell’italiano antico. Bologna: Il Mulino. Vol.I. 469–507.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Bianchi, Valentina
    (1999) Consequences of Antisymmetry: Headed Relative Clauses. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110803372
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110803372 [Google Scholar]
  9. (2011) Some notes on the ‘specificity effects’ of optional pronouns. In: Rouveret Alain (ed.). Resumptive pronouns at the interfaces. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 319–342. 10.1075/lfab.5.08bia
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lfab.5.08bia [Google Scholar]
  10. Cardinaletti, Anna
    (1987) Aspetti sintattici dell’estraposizione della frase relativa. Rivista di grammatica generativa12. 3–59.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Chierchia, Gennaro
    (1998) Reference to kinds across languages. Natural Language Semantics6: 339–405. 10.1023/A:1008324218506
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008324218506 [Google Scholar]
  12. Cinque, Guglielmo
    (1978) La sintassi dei pronomi relativi ‘cui’ e ‘quale’ nell’italiano contemporaneo. Rivista di grammatical generative3. 31–126.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. (1982) On the theory of relative clause and markedness. The Linguistic Review1. 247–294. 10.1515/tlir.1982.1.3.247
    https://doi.org/10.1515/tlir.1982.1.3.247 [Google Scholar]
  14. (1988) La frase relativa. In: Renzi Lorenzo (ed.). Grande grammatica italiana di consultazione. Bologna: Il Mulino. Vol1. 443–503.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. (1990) Types of A’ Dependencies. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. (1999) Adverbs and Functional Heads. A Cross-linguistic Perspective. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. (2007) A note on linguistic theory and typology. Linguistic Typology11. 93–106. 10.1515/LINGTY.2007.008
    https://doi.org/10.1515/LINGTY.2007.008 [Google Scholar]
  18. (2008) More on the indefinite character of the Head of restrictive relatives. Rivista di grammatica generativa33. 3–24.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. (2013) Typological Studies. Word Order and Relative Clause. New York/London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. (2015) Three phenomena discriminating between “raising” and “matching” relative clauses. Semantics-Syntax Interface2. 1–27.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Cinque, Guglielmo & Luigi Rizzi
    (2010) The Cartography of Syntactic Structures”. In: Heine Bernd & Heiko Narrog (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. 51–65.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. De Roberto, Elisa
    (2008) Le proposizioni relative con antecedente in italiano antico. Ms. PhD thesisUniversità Roma Tre / Université Paris IV-Sorbonne.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Del Gobbo, Francesca
    (2007) On the syntax and semantics of appositive relative clauses. In: Dehé Nicole & Yordanka Kavalova (eds.). Parentheticals. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 173–201. 10.1075/la.106.10del
    https://doi.org/10.1075/la.106.10del [Google Scholar]
  24. Fiorentino, Giuliana
    (1998) Clausola relativa debole e pronome relativo in italiano. In: Ramat Paolo & Elisa Roma (eds.). Sintassi storica, Atti del XXX congresso internazionale della Società di Linguistica italiana. Pavia, 26–28settembre 1996 Roma: Bulzoni.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Formentin, Vittorio
    (1996) Flessione bicasuale del pronome relativo in antichi testi italiani centro-meridionali. Archivio Glottologico Italiano81. 133–176.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Franco, Ludovico
    (2012) Against the identity of complementizers and demonstrative pronouns. Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics48.4: 565–596.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Friedmann, Naama
    (in prep). The acquisition of relative clauses in sixteen languages. Final paper of WG-3 of the European COST Action/33.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Gelderen, Elly van
    (2004) Grammaticalization as economy. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/la.71
    https://doi.org/10.1075/la.71 [Google Scholar]
  29. (2009) Renewal in the left periphery: economy and the complementiser layer. Transactions of the Philological Society107. 131–195. 10.1111/j.1467‑968X.2009.01216.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-968X.2009.01216.x [Google Scholar]
  30. Heim, Irene & Angelika Kratzer
    1998Semantics in Generative Grammar. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Hulsey, Sarah & Uli Sauerland
    (2006) Sorting out relative clauses. Natural Language Semantics14. 111–137. 10.1007/s11050‑005‑3799‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-005-3799-3 [Google Scholar]
  32. Iandolo, Antonio
    (2001) Parlare e scrivere in dialetto napoletano. Napoli: Tempolungo.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Jensen, Frede
    (1986) The syntax of Medieval Occitan. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. 10.1515/9783111329277
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783111329277 [Google Scholar]
  34. (1990) Old French and Comparative Gallo-Romance Syntax. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. 10.1515/9783110938166
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110938166 [Google Scholar]
  35. Kayne, Richard
    (1975) French Syntax. Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. (1994) The Antisymmetry of Syntax. Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. (2008) Antisymmetry and the lexicon. Linguistic Variation Yearbook. 8: 1–31. 10.1075/livy.8.01kay
    https://doi.org/10.1075/livy.8.01kay [Google Scholar]
  38. (2010) Why isn’t This a complementizer?. In: Kayne Richard (ed.). Comparison and contrasts. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 190–227.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Keenan, Edward L. & Bernard Comrie
    (1977) Noun Phrase Accessibility and Universal Grammar. Linguistic Inquiry8. 63–99.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Klima, Edward Stephan
    (1964) Studies in Diachronic Transformational Syntax. Doctoral dissertation. Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Ledgeway, Adam
    (2005) Moving through the left periphery: the dual complementiser system in the dialects of Southern Italy. Transactions of the Philological Society103(3): 339–396. 10.1111/j.1467‑968X.2005.00157.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-968X.2005.00157.x [Google Scholar]
  42. (2009) Grammatica diacronica del napoletano. Tübingen: Niemeyer Verlag. 10.1515/9783484971288
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783484971288 [Google Scholar]
  43. (2012) From Latin to Romance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Lehmann, Christian
    (1984) Der Relativsatz: Typologie seiner Strukturen, Theorie seiner Funktionen, Kompendium seiner Grammatik. Tübingen: Narr.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Longobardi, Giuseppe
    (1994) Reference and proper names. Linguistic Inquiry25: 609–665.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Manzini, Rita & Leonardo Savoia
    (2003) The nature of complementizers. Rivista di Grammatica Generativa28: 87–110.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. (2011) Grammatical Categories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511974489
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511974489 [Google Scholar]
  48. Noordhof, Harm
    (1937) La construction relative en italien. La Haye: van Haeringen.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Novogrodsky, Rama & Naama Friedmann
    (2006) The production of relative clauses in SLI: A window to the nature of the impairment. Advances in Speech-Language pathology8(4): 364–375. 10.1080/14417040600919496
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14417040600919496 [Google Scholar]
  50. Obenauer, Hans-Georg
    (1976) Études de syntaxe interrogative du français – Quoi, combien et le complémenteur. Tübingen: Niemeyer. 10.1515/9783111340364
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783111340364 [Google Scholar]
  51. (1994) Aspects de la syntaxe A-barre. Effects d’intervention et mouvements des quantifieurs. Thèse d’Etat. Université de Paris VIII.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Parry, Mair
    (2007) The interaction of Semantics and Syntax in the spread of relative che in Early Vernaculars of Italy. In: Bentley Delia & Adam Ledgeway (eds.). Sui dialetti italoromanzi. Saggi in onore di Nigel B. Vincent. Norfolk: Bidles. 200–219.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Partee, Barbara
    (1973) Some transformational extensions of Montague grammar. Journal of Philosophical Logic2: 509–534. 10.1007/BF00262953
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00262953 [Google Scholar]
  54. Poletto, Cecilia & Emanuela Sanfelici
    (2014) On the nature of complementizers: insights from Italian subject relative clause. Paper presented at the28th Symposium on Romance Linguistics, Going Romance. University of Lisbon4–6 December.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. (submitted). On the wh nature of relative che and prepositions. Annali di Ca’ Foscari.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Rizzi, Luigi
    (1997) The fine structure of the left periphery. In: Haegeman Liliane (ed.). Elements of Grammar. Dordercht: Kluwer. 281–337. 10.1007/978‑94‑011‑5420‑8_7
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-5420-8_7 [Google Scholar]
  57. Rizzi, Luigi & Ur Shlonsky
    (2007) Strategies of subject extraction. In: Hans Martin Gärtner & Uli Sauerland (eds.). Interfaces + Recursion = Language? Chomsky’s Minimalism and the View from Syntax-Semantics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 115–160.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Roberts, Ian & Anna Roussou
    (2003) Syntactic change: A minimalist approach to grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511486326
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511486326 [Google Scholar]
  59. Rohlfs, Gerhard
    (1966) Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti. Torino: Einaudi.
    [Google Scholar]
  60. Rooryck, Johan
    (2000) A unified analysis of French interrogative and complementizer qui/que. In: Rooryck Johan (ed.). Configurations of sentential complementation. London: Routledge. Chapter 8.
    [Google Scholar]
  61. Sanfelici, Emanuela , Caloi Irene & Cecilia Poletto
    (2014) Subject Object asymmetries in relative clause: an investigation into three new empirical domains. Quaderni di lavoro ASIt, Atti della XIX Giornata di dialettologia, Padova.
    [Google Scholar]
  62. Sanfelici, Emanuela & Cecilia Poletto
    (2017) On the relative cycle: the case of P+ che relative clauses from Old to Modern Italian. Ms. Università di Padova.
    [Google Scholar]
  63. Sauerland, Uli
    (1998) The Meaning of Chains. Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
    [Google Scholar]
  64. (2003) Unpronounced Heads in relative Clauses. In: Schwabe Kerstin & Susanne Winkler (eds.). The Interfaces. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 205–226. 10.1075/la.61.10sau
    https://doi.org/10.1075/la.61.10sau [Google Scholar]
  65. Sells, Peter
    (1985) Restrictive and Non-Restrictive Modification. CSLI Report: 85–28.
    [Google Scholar]
  66. Shimoyama, Junko
    (1999) Internally Headed Relative Clauses in Japanese and E-Type Anaphor. Ms. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts.
    [Google Scholar]
  67. Šimík, Radek
    (2008) The source of wh-morphology in questions and relative clauses. Proceedings of ConSOLEXV. 273–294.
    [Google Scholar]
  68. Sportiche, Dominique
    (2011) French relative qui. Linguistic Inquiry42(1): 83–124. 10.1162/LING_a_00029
    https://doi.org/10.1162/LING_a_00029 [Google Scholar]
  69. Starke, Michal
    (2009) Nanosyntax: A short primer to a new approach to language. In: Svenonius Peter , Ramchand Gillian , Taraldsen Tarald & Michal Starke (eds.). Special issue on Nanosyntax. University of Tromsoe: Norway. 1–6.
    [Google Scholar]
  70. Taraldsen, Knut T.
    (2002) The Que/Qui Alternation and the Distribution of Expletives. In: Peter Svenonius (ed.). Subjects, Expletives and the EPP. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press. 29–42.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Romance varieties; status of complementizers; syntax of relative clauses
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error