The paradigmatic case of an A-dependency involves a dislocated constituent in

an operator position and a gap that it is related to:

(1) What did John do __?

Such dependencies are often interpreted in terms of movement. The constituent

undergoing the fronting operation is base-generated in the position where it is

thematically interpreted and displaced in the course of the derivation. This

displacement operation establishes an A-dependency between the fronted

constituent and the position where it originates from. Such A-dependencies are

direct in the sense that antecedent and gap are members of the same chain.

The topic of this dissertation are indirect A-dependencies. Indirect A-

dependencies link syntactic objects that are not part of the same chain yet

behave as if they were. A well-known case of an indirect A-dependency are

relative clauses:

(2) the book which John read __

There is a direct A-dependency involving the relative pronoun which and the gap

it is linked to. However, there is clear evidence that the external head of the

relative is also in some way linked to the gap. Reconstruction effects show that it

must be interpreted relative-clause internally, in the position of the gap. In the

following example, the bound variable inside the external head is bound by the

QP inside the relative clause:

(3) the picture of hisi likes __ bestgirlfriend which every mani

Reconstruction is an important property of dependencies involving dislocation,

especially of A-dependencies. This implies for the case at hand that the external

head participates in an A-dependency. Obviously, this A-dependency is not

direct but rather indirect, mediated by the relative pronoun.

While A-dependencies normally relate an antecedent to a gap, there are also A-

dependencies where a resumptive pronoun appears in the extraction site. This is

illustrated in the following example from Zurich German long-distance


(4) s Bild, wo t gsäit häsch, dass de Peter s wett verchauffe

the picture C you said have.2SG that the Peter it wants sell

the picture that you said Peter wants to sell

Here, the external head of the relative clause is thematically related to the

pronoun s it. Reconstruction effects show that the external head must be

interpreted inside the relative clause. In the following sentence, an anaphor

contained in the external head is bound by an R-expression inside the

complement clause:

2 Introduction

(5) s Bild vo siichi, wo t gsäit häsch,

the picture of self C you said have.2SG

dass de Peteri s wett verchauffe

that the Peter it wants sell

the picture of himselfi that you said Peteri wants to sell

This shows that A-dependencies terminating in resumptive pronouns instead of

gaps share one of the crucial properties of A-dependencies involving gaps:


Next to indirect A-dependencies in relative clauses, which have already received

a lot of attention in the literature (even though they have never explicitly been

referred to as such), this dissertation describes and analyzes a hitherto

unstudied indirect A-dependency. Both Standard German and Dutch have a

construction that is semantically very similar to long-distance relativization yet

features a coreferring pronoun instead of a gap. Additionally, the relative

pronoun is governed by a preposition that is incompatible with the thematic

position it is related to:

(6) der Maler, von dem ich glaube, dass Petra ihn mag

the painter of who I believe that Petra him likes

the painter who I think Petra likes

The relative operator phrase cannot be directly related to the coreferring pronoun

due to the category mismatch. Crucially, the external head is not only

thematically related to the coreferring pronoun, there is evidence that it

participates in an A-dependency. Reconstruction effects show that it has to be

interpreted in the complement clause, in the position of the coreferring pronoun.

In the following example, an anaphor inside the external head is bound by an Rexpression

inside the complement clause:

(7) das Spiegelbild von sichi, von dem ich glaube,

the reflection of self of which I believe

dass Peteri es an der Wand sah

that Peter it on the wall saw

the reflection of himselfi that I think Peteri saw on the wall

This sentence can be argued to involve a doubly indirect dependency: The

external head has to be related to the coreferring pronoun via the relative

pronoun. Additionally, the dependency between the relative operator and the

coreferring pronoun must also be indirect. I will refer to this construction as the

proleptic construction

The major goal of this dissertation is to provide more insight into indirect

dependencies by a close examination of German, Dutch and Zurich German

data. The central question that needs to be addressed is the following: Given the

reconstruction effects, how exactly can it be achieved that the external head of a

relative clause is interpreted in a position it is not related to by a direct

movement operation? The two major areas that this affects are the nature of

reconstruction and (where the A-dependency does not terminate in a gap) and


the nature of resumption. Consequently, a large part of this thesis is devoted to


The thesis is structured as follows. In chapter one, I will provide the relevant

background about the syntax of relative clauses and about reconstruction.

Chapter two discusses German relative clauses and argues that what makes the

indirect A-dependency possible is an ellipsis operation that links the external

head with its relative clause-internal counterpart. Chapter three addresses the

proleptic construction introduced in (7) above. I will argue in favor of a doubly

indirect A-dependency. Next to the ellipsis operation that links the external head

with the relative pronoun there is another ellipsis operation that links the relative

operator phrase with a representation of it inside the complement clause. In

chapter four, I discuss the syntax of resumptive pronouns in Zurich German

relative clauses. I argue that local and long-distance relativization require very

different analyses. While local relativization is described in terms of an indirect

A-dependency that (sometimes) terminates in resumptive pronouns, longdistance

relativization is reanalyzed in terms of a doubly indirect A-dependency

parallel to the proleptic construction in (7). The concluding chapter summarizes

the theoretical results and points out avenues for future research.

or as resumptive prolepsis.