Internally and externally headed relative clauses in Tagalog


Head nominals in Tagalog relative clauses can surface in three distinct positions: preceding the clause, immediately following the embedded verb, and in argument position within the clause. This paper accounts for these possibilities by positing that the head nominal is base generated within the clause as a property-denoting NP rather than a full DP and identifying the gap position by means of complex predicate formation between this NP and the rest of the clause. If the head NP raises to [Spec, CP], it forms a complex predicate with the embedded TP in that position and is spelled out preceding the clause. If the head NP does not raise to [Spec, CP], it either remains in its base position in the embedded clause and undergoes complex predicate formation with the embedded verb in situ, or it undergoes head movement and forms a complex predicate with the embedded verb via incorporation. I also account for the distribution of linkers in Tagalog relative clauses by proposing that all unsaturated categories within a Tagalog DP are headed by linkers. Consequently, both the relative clause and the head nominal are preceded by a linker, accounting for the fact that a linker always appears between the clause and head NP, regardless of their relative order. Finally, analyzing the head nominal as an NP rather than a DP also accounts for the locality restriction in Tagalog relativization such that genitive DPs are ineligible for movement. This is prevented on my analysis by ensuring that the head NP is not merged in a position which would be assigned inherent case.

This article is part of the special collection: Internally-Headed Relative Clauses


incorporation, linker, extraction restriction

How to Cite

Aldridge, E., (2017) “Internally and externally headed relative clauses in Tagalog”, Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 2(1): 41. doi:


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Edith Aldridge (University of Washington, Department of Linguistics, Seattle, Washington)



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