Clausal Complements of Noun in Persian

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor of Persian Language and Literature, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Professor of Linguistics, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


Clausal dependents of noun in Persian are divided into two groups: relative clauses (restrictive relative clause /RRC and non-restrictive relative clause /NRRC), and clausal complements of noun (CCN). By mentioning the semantic and syntactic differences between these two groups, Iranian researchers often consider them as independent and distinct clauses. In this study, we show that the so-called CCN is a kind of RC and for some reason they cannot be complements. First, like RCs, these clauses are optional and adjunctive. Second, those few nouns that can accept a clausal dependent, unlike their corresponding verbs, do not semantically indicate an event or process or action. Third, the behavior of these clauses happens to be remarkably similar to that of NRRCs, mainly because the head nominal in both clauses are definite. The necessity of definiteness arises from the information structure of the clause and its being discourse-bound. On the other hand, contrary to what has been described in the literature, the head N of the clauses is not necessarily a predicative noun; however, semantically it necessarily does contain an event descriptor. That is why not every noun can be the head N of these clauses. The seeming CCNs are in fact RCs that are the product of relativization of an event argument. Since this element is hidden and located in one of the functional projections, CCNs seem to have no gap/resumptive pronoun. Thus, it is better to use the term “event-relative clauses” to refer to these clauses. The syntactic analysis of these clauses –in a manner similar to the syntactic analysis of RCs– will justify the impossibility of extraction, because according to Phase Theory, CP and DP are the phases that the extracted item must first move to their edges; However, the specifier of these two phrases is filled in by the relative operator and the DP, and no element can be extracted from it.


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Volume 11, Issue 2
February 2021
Pages 247-269
  • Receive Date: 11 June 2020
  • Revise Date: 18 September 2020
  • Accept Date: 19 December 2020
  • First Publish Date: 22 December 2020