Gur (or Mabia) languages which are spoken in West Africa have so-called internally-headed relative clauses (IHRCs), but they have not received serious attention in syntactic and typological research on IHRCs. In this article, building on detailed first-hand data, we describe the syntax and semantics of IHRCs in five Gur languages: Buli, Dagaare, Dagbani, Gurene, and Kabiyé. It is demonstrated that their IHRCs refute the syntactic and semantic generalizations proposed in the literature (Gorbet 1976; Cole 1987; Grosu 2002; Watanabe 1991; 2004). We also compare IHRCs in Gur and Japanese and argue that the existing semantic typology of IHRCs must be reconsidered, showing that properties of two types of IHRCs—restrictive and maximalizing IHRCS—do not necessarily show predicated correlations.
This article is part of the special collection: Internally-headed Relative Clauses
internally-headed relative clauses, universals, typology, syntax, Gur/Mabia
How to Cite
Hiraiwa, K. & Akanlig-Pare, G. & Atintono, S. & Bodomo, A. & Essizewa, K. & Hudu, F., (2017) “A comparative syntax of internally-headed relative clauses in Gur”, Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 2(1): 27. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.40