Empty category in Persian relative clauses

  • Mahmoud MOBARAKI Assistant Professor in linguistics, Jahrom University
  • Abolfazl MOSAFFA JAHROM Jahrom University
Keywords: relative clause, resumptive pronoun, empty category, subjacency condition, predicate logic


Empty categories are one of the fundamental parts of generativist’s view towards language. Empty operators, the so-called null elements, which are syntactically active in relative clauses and possibly move into [spec, CP], have reportedly been found in different languages. However, there is no solid evidence for the existence of empty operators in Persian relative clauses. Despite this, syntactic evidences such as theta theory, argument structure and subjacency condition provide satisfactory provable tests in favor of their role in Persian grammar. Namely, Persian relative clauses contain resumptive pronouns which may be covert. Their movement into [spec, CP] can precisely account for subjacency effect in relative clauses. Resumptive pronouns can occupy the subject as well as the object position. This articles attempts to introduce empty operators to Persian syntax, and shows that in such a way it is possible to account for the peculiar behavior of the Persian complementizer “ke” and its obligatory nature.


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How to Cite
MOBARAKI, M., & MOSAFFA JAHROM, A. (2019). Empty category in Persian relative clauses. Acta Linguistica Asiatica, 9(2), 53-70. https://doi.org/10.4312/ala.9.2.53-70
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