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Relative Clause Extraposition in German: An Efficient and Portable Implementation

Berthold Crysmann
In: Journal for Research on Language and Computation, Vol. 3, No. 1, Pages 61-82, 2005.


In this paper, I propose an implementation of relative clause extraposition in German. The proposal builds on Kiss (2005) who treats relative clause extraposition as an anaphoric process by means of percolation of anchors to which the relative clause is bound. I discuss several sources of spurious ambiguity in Kiss's original formulation and suggest a two-step percolation of anchors that crucially distinguishes right-peripheral from central or left-peripheral percolation. Since extraposition is fairly productive, and phrase-structure alternates between head initial (prepositional phrases, V-initial) and head-final structures (postpositional phrases, V-final), German provides a good testing ground for techniques controlling spurious ambiguity that may easily be ported to languages where phrase structure is more canonical and/or extraposition more restricted. Finally, the performance of the Kiss-style approach is compared to an alternative implementation in terms of rightward movement, similar to Keller 1995.