Multiple Relative Clauses: Ordering and Derivation*

Jeong-Shik Lee 1 ,
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1Wonkwang University
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ⓒ Copyright 2017 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Jun 29, 2017 ; Revised: Oct 16, 2017 ; Accepted: Nov 20, 2017

Published Online: Dec 31, 2017


There are three types of multiple relative clauses (RCs) in Korean; that is, prenominal, right-dislocated, and split RCs. In this paper, I offer plausible derivations of them and attempt to account for ordering restrictions they display. I propose a couple of distinct ways of forming RC constructions in Korean, for example, adjunction of RC(s), complementation of RC(s), and combination of the two. Concomitantly, the proposal resorts to the head-first hypothesis instead of the usual head-final hypothesis for Korean. In the prenominal and split RCs, a stage level RC precedes an individual level RC in Larson and Takahashi’s (2007) term, but in the right-dislocated RCs, free order obtains. An individual level RC may precede a stage level RC if the former is preceded by a determiner like ku ‘the’. I show that different orders of RCs follow from the proposal that to restrict the relative head noun, a deictic quantifier in the relative head noun be activated by a determiner or a stage level RC in the prenominal position.

Keywords: multiple relative clauses; stage level; individual level; deictic quantifier; head-first; head-final