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What are ‘Pseudo-Relatives’?


Giorgio Graffi



There is no agreement among generative scholars about the extension of the class of the so-called pseudo-relative constructions. It is also standard practice/procedure to equate them with ‘predicative relatives’ of traditional and non-generative studies, but even such studies differ as far as the extension of such a class of relatives is concerned. Our proposal is to consider the ‘subject-object asymmetry’ as the distinguishing feature of pseudo-relatives: since this asymmetry is exceptionless only after verbs of perception, we conclude that this is the only context where pseudo-relatives constructions occur. We propose that such constructions form a ‘Larsonian shell’, where the antecedent is the subject and the pseudo-relative clause is the predicate.


Keywords: generative grammar  • ‘Larsonian shells’• predication • pseudo-relatives • verbs of perception

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