Syntax/semantics mismatches in externally and internally headed relative constructions

The project studies the ways in which syntactic structures are semantically interpreted, focusing on two apparent mismatches: (i) narrow-scope readings of heads in externally-headed relative constructions, where the head semantically depends on some operator within the relative clause (so-called "reconstruction") and (ii) wide-scope readings of internally-headed relative constructions, where the head, though syntactically part of the relative clause, appears to scope over the relative construction ("exconstruction").

Two theoretical alternatives will be considered: (a) assuming syntactic structure enriched by a particular representation level like Logical Form (LF) that can be interpreted by ordinary semantic operations; (b) assuming semantic interpretation enriched by type shifting operations that allow for interpretation of overt syntactic structures for which there is direct syntactic evidence.

Our goal is to assess whether one of the two approaches is preferable on empirical and/or conceptual grounds, thus providing a decisive contribution to the most important theoretical issue concerning the syntax/semantics interface.



Funding period


Principal Investigator

Prof. Dr. Manfred Krifka