At least in my dialect of English, sentences like the following are perfectly grammatical:

The picture of himselfi that Tomi most liked is on the table.

How does one account for the binding here? If you accept Principle A, then at some point in the derivation of this sentence, Tom is going to have to c-command the picture of himself. That doesn’t work with at least one traditional way of deriving relative clauses (where a possibly silent relative operator is merged into [Spec, CP] of the relative clause, and then the whole thing merges as an adjunct to the nominal picture of himself). I can imagine raising analyses that handle the problem, but those may run into other issues.

Is there a standard way of dealing with this?

  • 1
    One point: the relative clause doesn't "merge as a complement to the NP picture of himself", but as modifier. "Picture of himself" is not an NP, but a nominal.
    – BillJ
    May 22, 2021 at 8:53
  • Oops, thank you. I changed “complement” to “adjunct” and “NP” to “nominal.” I hope that’s better.
    – Spike Wolf
    May 22, 2021 at 14:50


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