Map 123A shows the relativization on obliques:
|Go to map|
|Relative Pronoun Strategy||13|
We distinguish five major groups of languages here. First, there are a number of languages that relativize upon obliques by employing the relative pronoun strategy, as exemplified in the Russian sentence in (1).
‘I lost the knife with which I cut the bread.’
Second, a number of languages use a non-reduction strategy for relativizing on obliques, where the head noun appears as a full-fledged noun phrase within the relative clause, with the same three major subtypes, (a) correlative, (b) internally headed relative clause, and (c) paratactic clauses, as with relativization on upon subjects. The sentences in (2), (3) and (4) illustrate these three subtypes, respectively.
‘The man [to whom I was talking ] will go to India tomorrow.’
(lit. ‘Which man I was talking with, he will go to India tomorrow’)
‘The house Bonnie went to is blue.’
‘The man who we’re talking about is going inside.’
The third major relativizing strategy with obliques is the pronoun-retention strategy. This strategy is exemplified in the sentence in (5) from Persian.
‘the men that you had given the books to’
(lit. ‘the men that you had given the books to them’)
The fourth group of languages employ the gap strategy, as exemplified in the Korean sentence in (6).
‘the stick with which Hyensik beat the dog’
The fifth value represented on Map 123A is non-relativizable, and it stands for those languages where obliques cannot be relativized upon directly. In such languages, the translation equivalent of relativizing upon an oblique in other languages is typically expressed by advancing the noun phrase in question to a position that can be relativized upon, e.g. by the use of applicative and/or passive constructions (for details, see Comrie 1989: 156ff.).
Note that the assignment of a particular feature value to a particular language does not mean that this feature value is the only one that has been attested in that particular language. It only means that this particular feature value is considered to be the most frequent, or the canonical one in non-marked contexts.
Editorial note: Please cf. also Chapter 122.
Map 122A shows the following areal-typological configurations with respect to relativizing on subjects. In Europe, the relative pronoun strategy predominates (see also Lehmann 1984: 109; Comrie 1998: 6; Haspelmath 2001: 1496-1497). Note that this strategy stands out as being typically European since it is not found in Indo-European languages spoken outside Europe, and is exceptional more generally outside Europe.
In East Asia and Southeast Asia, the gap strategy is the most frequent one (see also Comrie 1998: 78). The non-reduction relativizing strategy is most frequently employed in the languages of the Americas.
Map 123A reveals distinct areal-typological patterns, too. The gap strategy is the dominant relativizing strategy for obliques in Southeast Asia, the Pacific area, and Australia. The relative pronoun strategy is characteristic of relativizing on obliques in Europe, whereas pronoun retention is the most frequent relativizing strategy with obliques in the languages of Africa.
According to the Accessibility Hierarchy of Relativization (subject > direct object > indirect object > possessor) proposed in Keenan and Comrie (1977), it is easier to relativize on subjects than it is to relativize on any of the other positions, easier to relativize on direct objects than indirect objects, etc. One of the generalizations that has been made regarding the accessibility hierarchy is that the pronoun retention strategy is preferred at the lower end of the hierarchy. This finds substantial confirmation in the present study, in that several languages use pronoun retention for relativizing upon obliques but not for relativizing upon subjects. In fact, few languages use pronoun-retention to relativize upon subjects, though Babungo illustrates precisely this possibility, as in (6) of Chapter 122, repeated as (7):
‘I have seen the man who has beaten you.’
Note that to relativize upon direct objects, Babungo uses either a gap or pronoun-retention, with the gap being obligatory with a few verbs in the perfective aspect, as in (8); in this Babungo provides an exception to the accessibility hierarchy generalization on the distribution of pronoun retention.
optional gap strategy
‘I have seen a child whom his father had beaten.’
obligatory gap strategy
‘I have seen the chair which Lambi gave.’