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D-raising in Chamorro relative clauses and other A′ constructions


The aim of this paper is to propose and motivate an analysis for internally headed relative clauses (IHRCs) in Chamorro, an Austronesian language spoken in the Mariana Islands. IHRCs are constructions in which a noun phrase interpreted as being modified by a relative clause (the head NP) surfaces as an argument inside that relative clause. Based on the grammaticality judgments of native speakers of Chamorro, we propose an analysis in which the head NP is merged as a determiner phrase (DP) argument inside the relative clause. The head of this DP is the null relative clause operator, which undergoes long head movement to the Specifier of CP, stranding the remainder of DP inside the relative clause. The movement component of the analysis is supported by island effects in IHRCs, and the claim that the null operator forms part of the head NP is supported by the inability for any (other) determiners to appear with the head NP. The long head movement component of the analysis is supported by patterns in other sentences with A′ dependencies (constituent questions and focus sentences) in which an overt determiner is able to appear in the clause-initial position, while its nominal restrictor surfaces postverbally. The analysis, if correct, supports recent claims about the structural ambiguity of relative clauses, and enriches the typology of IHRCs in the world’s languages.

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