Home > Catalogue > Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie occidentale > 50 | 2016 > On Noun Clausal ‘Complements’ and their Non-unitary Nature

On Noun Clausal ‘Complements’ and their Non-unitary Nature

Guglielmo Cinque    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    

Iliyana Krapova    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



In this article, we discuss the status of clausal ‘complements’ of Ns, which have recently been analysed by various authors as restrictive relative clauses. First we argue that they do not constitute a unitary phenomenon. Two types should be distinguished: clausal “complements” that can be predicated of the noun across a copula (with nouns like ‘claim’, ‘news’, ‘idea’, etc.) and those that cannot (with transitive nouns like ‘proof’ and with ‘unaccusative’ nouns like ‘possibility’). While we argue that both types are not genuine complements of the noun, we address some apparent difficulties for an ordinary restrictive relative clause analysis. Using data from English, Bulgarian and Italian we suggest that noun clausal “complements” of the first type are best analyzed as the predicate of a non-restrictive reduced relative clause, ultimately derived from an inverse (specificational) copular structure where the “complement” clause that expresses the content of the N occupies the subject position and the Noun the predicate position ([[CP That he is a spy] Pred° [DP the claim]]). Concerning noun clausal “complements” of the second type we tentatively assume that they involve the relativization of a propositional variable, as suggested by a number of authors.

Sept. 30, 2016
July 11, 2016
April 12, 2016

Keywords: Reduced relative clausesUnaccusative nounsNoun complementsInverse predication

Copyright: © 2016 Guglielmo Cinque, Iliyana Krapova. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.