A Role and Reference Grammar Analysis of Relative Clauses in Farsi

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor of Linguistics department Alzahra University

2 Ph.D. Candidate of Linguistics, Alzahra University


In this paper, we examine the treatment of Persian relative clauses in role and reference grammar. RRG is a structural-functional theory which has studied the syntax-semantics-pragmatics interface in human language systems. The main objectives of this article, on the one hand, are to elucidate syntactic, semantic and pragmatic properties of Farsi relative clauses, and on the other hand, to assess this theory in analyzing Farsi relative clauses. Modern Farsi written sentences were selected for analysis. The results show that restrictive clauses in Farsi are peripheral i.e. modifiers of the nominal and occur at the nuclear level. On the other hand, non-restrictive clauses are adjuncts at the NP rather than the nuclearN level. Like adjectives, relative clauses express attributes of the head noun and accordingly the semantic representation of the relative clause is represented as filling the same slot in an attributive predication that an adjective does. In terms of focus structure, relative clauses could be considered as an information unit. Hence, they can occur in actual focus domain. Moreover, relative clauses could be a presupposed element while they can present contrasts and focus to the interlocutor.


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  • Receive Date: 12 September 2014
  • Revise Date: 08 October 2014
  • Accept Date: 11 November 2014
  • First Publish Date: 20 February 2015