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Clause-internal correlatives in Southeastern Mande: A case for the propagation of typological rara

Abstract : This paper discusses a typologically unusual relativization strategy attested in several Southeastern Mande languages. In this construction, the relativized noun phrase appears in its own non-reduced clause and is referred to by a pronoun in the main clause, as in constructions with correlative clauses (literally, “That man invited us, I am writing to him” for ‘I am writing to the man who invited us’). Unlike in typical cases of correlative clauses, however, the clause containing the relativized noun phrase appears inside the main clause, immediately preceding the resumptive pronoun (literally, “I am writing – that man invited us – to him”). I discuss the syntactic properties of this unusual construction and suggest a possible diachronic path for its development. In particular, I argue that the rise of clause-internal correlatives in Southeastern Mande is licensed by a typologically unusual syntactic property of those languages: clause-internal extraposition of noun phrases, which is in turn related to the clause-level adjunction of postpositional phrases. More generally, besides adding a previously unattested type to the typology of relativization strategies, I seek to illustrate how typologically unusual morphosyntactic properties provide the basis for the subsequent development of rare or unique constructions (the “Propagation of Rara” principle).
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01133953
Contributor : Tatiana Nikitina <>
Submitted on : Friday, March 20, 2015 - 5:48:09 PM
Last modification on : Monday, December 28, 2020 - 4:54:02 PM

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Tatiana Nikitina. Clause-internal correlatives in Southeastern Mande: A case for the propagation of typological rara. Lingua, Elsevier, 2012, 122 (4), pp.319-334. ⟨10.1016/j.lingua.2011.12.001⟩. ⟨hal-01133953⟩

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