LINGUIST List 11.2273

Thu Oct 19 2000

Sum: Right Node Raising

Editor for this issue: Lydia Grebenyova <>


  1. John R Te Velde/forlang/cas/Okstate, Right Node Raising

Message 1: Right Node Raising

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 15:14:03 -0500
From: John R Te Velde/forlang/cas/Okstate <>
Subject: Right Node Raising

For Query: Linguist 11.2073

A couple of weeks ago I posted a query on the Right Node Raising
construction, asking for input on what languages didn't have it. I received
replies from seven individuals regarding six languages. Of these six, three
do not have RNR, according to the input I received. They are: Italian
(highly marked), Mandarin Chinese and Nisqa'a (a Canadian Indian language).
Ed Zoerner pointed out to me, however, that in Koutsoudas, A. 1971.
"Gapping, Conjunction Reduction and Coordinate Deletion." (Foundations of
Language 7: 337-86) there is a list of about 15 languages that lack RNR.
According to the replies I received, French, Hungarian and Korean do have
RNR, which can be added to the list of languages that I gave in my original
posting: Dutch, German, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.
After some initial hesitation, my informants produced acceptable cases of
RNR in French, such as:

(i) Pierre a achet´┐Ż et Paul a lu un livre
Language-specific parameters sometimes rule out RNR. As reported to me,
French does not have an equivalent of

(ii) Peter bought a large and Paul a small book on physics
because 'un grand' ('a large') would in this context be interpreted as a
noun phrase, i.e. 'something large'.
My informant for Italian wrote that the equivalent of (ii) is not possible
in Italian, claiming that there was no way to coindex the gap with the
right-peripheral element. The Italian equivalent of "I eat many and you
(eat) just a few oranges" is not grammatical in this form:

(iii) *Io mangio molte e tu ne mangi poche arance
only like this:

(iv) Io mangio molte arance e tu ne mangi poche
with the gap at the right edge of the second conjunct.
However, my informant does marginally accept:

(v) ?Io ne mangio molte (e) e tu ne mangi poche di arance
My informant on Korean produced several good RNR constructions. When I
inquired about the prosodic features of RNR, he could not confirm that
prosody plays a role in Korean RNR constructions like:

(vi) Peter-neun keugo Paul-eun jageun chaek-eul sa-ass-ta
 P.TOP large-and P.TOP small book.ACC bought
Why focus accent and prosodic breaks/pauses do not seem important to Korean
RNR is a point I will take up in further research of RNR.
I would welcome any further input on these constructions.

John R. te Velde
Assoc. Prof. of German
Dept. of Foreign Languages & Literatures
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078-1054
Tel. 405-744-9544, Fax. 405-744-5733
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