I went through this thread Relative clauses types and confusion where the 4 different types of relative clauses are discussed.

First, I'd like to know wether I understood the 4 example sentences which the OP of the linked thread gave us.

1) "A)“Cased Head” Type (Relative Clause): the head noun bears some case relation to the predicate in the modifying clause 犬を飼っている木村さん。" => "Kimura who keeps a dog."

B)" “Adverbial Head” Type: the head noun bears an adverbial relation to the information expressed in the modifier 財産をなくした賭け事。" => "Gambling where you lost property."

C)" “Relational Head” Type: the head noun and the modifier form some sort of interdependent relationship 太郎が東京へ行った翌年。" => "The following year where Taro went to Tokyo."

D) D)" “Content Label Head” Type (Appositive Clause): the head noun serves as a label for the content expressed in the modifier In other words, content nouns are those nouns which have the potential to be further commented on for their content. 犬が赤ん坊をかんだ事実。" => "A truth which bites babies."

Second, Concerning Narutos answer to the question:

"C: (no original sentence; 翌年に太郎が東京へ行った would mean something different) D: (no original sentence; 事実 does not bite a baby)"

=> Does the fact that he left out the original sentence mean that these example sentences were not types of the sort described by OP (Here: C = Relational Head; D = Content Label Head)? Or in other words, does it mean that these 2 examples given by the OP did not represent the categories of relative clauses they were supposed to and/or were 'wrong' (e.g. D, since facts don't bite babies?)?

I ask because I wondered wether the examples given by OP in this thread could've been textbook examples, where I usually would expect that they are correct/fit the category they are labeled with.

If the examples C and D were not representative of the category they should stand for, what would be good examples for them? For example, I dont really understand what in “Relational Head” Type: the head noun and the modifier form some sort of interdependent relationship" is meant with "interdependent relationship"?

1 Answer 1


The "no original sentence" comments are not because these examples are incorrect, but because unlike the first two sentences, they are not simple rephrasings of a non-relative clause sentence.

Example C, 太郎が東京へ行った翌年, does not mean "The following year where Taro went to Tokyo" as you indicate (this would be the meaning if it were a Type A relative clause, but relative time words like 翌年 do not form Type A relative clauses.) It means "The following year after Taro went to Tokyo", ie. the content of the relative clause represents the reference point for the relative time statement. There is no simple way of expressing this without such a relative clause, which is why no "original sentence" was provided in the answer.

Similarly 犬が赤ん坊をかんだ事実 does not mean "A truth which bites babies." (This would again be an attempt to interpret it as a simple Type A relative clause, though it fails to account for the presence of 犬 in the sentence.) The actual meaning is "The fact that the dog bit the baby", ie. the relative clause describes the content of the 事実. This again is not straightforwardly based on an original non-relative construction. It could feasibly be rephrased as something along the lines of 事実は犬が赤ん坊をかんだということだ, though that's significantly less natural...and I believe the ということ construction itself would also be classified as a Type D relative clause anyway, so that seems rather like sidestepping the issue(!)

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