Syntax and semantics of mood in Spanish relative clauses: A class/member analysis
Moore, Patrick James
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Students of Spanish-as-a-second-language are commonly taught that there are two types of relative clause (RC), restrictive and non-restrictive, and that non-restrictive RCs can be left out of a sentence without affecting the meaning of their antecedent. One thing that students are not generally taught, however, is that restrictive RCs form part of the same NP as their antecedent. Restrictive RCs, much like postnominal attributive adjectives designate a subclass within a larger class of entities. The notions of =class‘ and =subclass‘ are crucial to understanding not only the difference between restrictive and non-restrictive RCs, but also to understanding the constraints on the uses of both types of RC. Furthermore, these notions can be used to explain the nature of mood selection in Spanish restrictive RCs. Mood selection in restrictive RCs does not depend on whether the antecedent exists or is known or experienced, as students are commonly taught. Rather, it depends on whether the entity referred to by the antecedent plus the relative clause is an individuated or non-individuated member of a class. Such is the claim put forth in Guitart‘s (1995) class/member analysis, a claim which we believe can be used to explain the mood selection not only of nominal RCs but also of adverbial RCs.