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Title:Free Relative Constructions in OT Syntax
Authors:Ralf Vogel
Comment:to be published in a special issue of the 'Linguistische Berichte' on OT, edited by Caroline Fery and Gisbert Fanselow
Abstract:This paper presents an Optimality theoretic account of the typology of free
relative constructions. It concentrates on the resolution strategies that
languages have for the case conflicts that very often occur in this
construction, because the free relative pronoun seems to have to serve two
different case assigners at once.

Languages differ as to how big a case conflict must be in a free relative
(FR) construction to cause ungrammaticality. While English requires true
categorial matching, German allows the suppression of structural cases, if
assigned by the matrix verb. There are also different types of non-matching

The paper argues that the matching effect is about surface forms. Not
abstract features have to match, but their mode of morpho-phonological
realisation. A second important fact is that many languages, e.g., some
variants of German, Gothic, Romanian and Modern Greek, only allow for FRs,
if the suppressed case is lower on the language particular case hierarchy.

The proposal uses [LF,PF] pairs as candidates. The input is considered to be
a full-fledged LF. The constraint set contains constraints on the
correspondence of the input-LF and the LF of output candidates. LF-PF
correspondence in individual candidates is also used. The case hierarchy is
implemented in an indirect way by a constraint on case realisation that
allows a 'lower marked' case to be 'realisable' by a 'higher marked' one.

This solution requires a separate 'case module' feeding the constraint
on case realisation. An actual form given in a candidate has to be
compared with an alternative form, i.e., that of the suppressed
case. But this alternative form is not contained within the
evaluated candidate. It thus has to be taken from an 'accessible
database of case forms', so to speak.

To account for ineffability, the paper makes use of two different
neutralisation strategies, neutralisation to a different form and
neutralisation to a FR that has a different meaning and/or might be
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1