I am working on relative clauses in Kyrgyz. Kyrgyz and some other Turkic languages show agreement of subject with object in relative clauses, instead of the verb. It is an SVO language.

Menin okugan        kitabim
I-Gen read-rel.suf. book-1st persn

"The book that I read"

Are there other languages that show an agreement of subject with object, but not with verb in relative clauses? What can be the cause of it?

  • 4
    Can you also explain how possession works in this language, give a few more relative clause examples, and indicate morpheme breaks in the Kyrgyz examples?
    – user483
    Jan 15, 2013 at 3:43
  • some interesting examples on pp.79--80 in Comrie 1998 from another Turkic language. I am wanting more data because I am assuming from the start that the example means "my book that I read"
    – user483
    Jan 21, 2013 at 17:18
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    I don't know why you call this "agreement". The question that I think @jlovegren is asking is whether the -im on the book is required for this construction, or whether it is additional information about the book? i.e., would menin okugan kitab be grammatical (cf mehmetfa's examples from Turkish).
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 20, 2015 at 13:06
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    I don't know Kyrgyz but doesn't the example merely mean "my I-read book-my"? I wonder if the same grammar (with "my") can be applied to something which cannot be possessed (a book can be possessed)
    – carsten
    Aug 19, 2015 at 21:13
  • Is the point about Kyrgyz here that the ‘relative suffix’ on the verb is not inflected for person to agree with the subject? As far as I can tell from mehmetfa’s answer, the Turkish counterparts have a verbal form that is inflected to agree with the subject, but that may not be the case with Kyrgyz, which then marks the subject of a transitive relative clause instead as the possessor of the object? That's an interesting pattern. Sep 20, 2015 at 11:06

2 Answers 2


I would not call this object-agreement because (to my knowledge) it also holds for non-object relative clauses, such as adverbial relative clauses (but not for subject-relative clauses, as I'm sure you're aware). It is simply an agreement marker that displays the person and number of the subject.

  • Question 1: I don't know any other examples of other languages off the top of my head.

  • Question 2: Regarding possible causes, I would frame the question in the following way:

Relative clauses in Turkic languages can contain an agreement suffix. Different languages differ with respect to the placement of the agreement suffix: Turkish puts them on the verb, and most other Turkic languages including Kyrgyz put them on the head noun instead. (Additionally, there are relative clauses without this agreement suffix, and also their subject appears in nominative case instead of genitive.)

Here is a paper that discusses a possible analysis of why Turkic languages differ in this way. (PM me if you can't access it via your library.) Disclaimer: It's formalized in generative syntax; if you're not familiar with this framework it might be difficult to read.

Kornfilt, Jaklin. 2008. “Subject case and Agr in two types of Turkic RCs”, in Proceedings of WAFL 4; S. Ulutaş & C. Boeckx (eds.); Cambridge, MA: MITWPL 56; 145-168.


You can not create relative clauses without a phrase/Objekt/Noun etc. Because you need an object to describe it again.Actually relative clauses are side clauses(supporting clauses) that you describe the subject in main clause. So lets 's split your sample sentence into two parts:

Bu bir kitap.(This is book.) - Ben bu kitabi okudum.(I've read this book)

With relative:

Bu benim okuduğum kitap.(This is the book that I've read.)

As you can see you build relative clauses to make main clauses more explicit,more comprehensible.

In "Bu bir Kitap" as you suppose Kitap is not subject or object, however it's a noun predicate.

But in "Ben bu kitabi okudum." the word Kitap is an accusative object.

In short there is already no subject - object agreement in your example sentence. Because you don't re-describe I(ben), you describe just Kitap(book).

I've answered your question as a native Turkish speaker from Turkey.

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    Do you think you've addressed the original question? Would you care to re-read it? Dec 21, 2015 at 1:00
  • @Ivan Kapitonov, some suffix of Kyrgyz and Turkish are different but I could understand original sentence: Menin okugan kitabim.(TR:Benim okuduğum kitap.) Dec 21, 2015 at 9:25
  • Sure. I'm talking about the title of the question though. This sentence: Which languages have Subject-object agreement in relative clauses? Dec 21, 2015 at 12:52
  • @Ivan Kapitonov, as is stands OP doesn't care his own question title at all.So everything here is in vain,i mean no need to argue Dec 21, 2015 at 15:24

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