On 13/02/2011 14:16, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets wrote:
> Basque is interesting the way only Basque can be: relative clauses are
> formed by putting them in front of the antecedent. The verb takes a special
> form with suffix -en, which is simply the genitive case suffix. In other
> words, relative clauses are just normal clauses in the genitive that
> complete a noun.

That makes sense. Thomas Payne in his book, "Describing 
Morphosyntax", says: "A relative clause is one functions as 
a nominal modifier."

We speakers of SAE languages tend to think of relative 
clauses functioning adjectivally, modifying its head (i.e. 
'antecedent' - not a good name as in many languages it just 
ain't _ante-_). But a noun phrase (NP) may be modified by a 
genitive.  So why not treat the relative clause as 
functioning as a NP and relating to its head with a genitive 
suffix or particle?

My knowledge of Chinese is a bit rough, but IIRC isn't 
something similar done in Chinese where we may have:
<'relative-clause'> + de + NP

Indeed, I think it well worth reading Thomas Payne on 
relatives clauses - "Describing Morphosyntax" pages 325 - 
336.  There are some interesting examples, including 
examples with ergative constructions.

Frustra fit per plura quod potest
fieri per pauciora.
[William of Ockham]