A resumptive pronoun is a pronoun that refers back to a previously realized item within the same syntactic structure. Resumptive pronouns are often found in relative clauses, where they are realized twice -- once as relative pronoun and once as resumptive pronoun.
In generative syntax, resumptive pronouns are seen as an alternative strategy to movement (Haegeman 1994: 409), they are spell-out forms, where otherwise (i.e. if movement would have applied properly) only invisible traces would be left.
Resumptive pronoun is a pronoun which appears in the position of the variable bound by a wh-phrase.
The strategy to form relative clauses with resumptive pronouns is applied in non-standard French:
'Here is the man that Marie has talked to' (cited after Haegeman 1994: 409)
in (i) him is a resumptive pronoun bound by who and interpreted as a bound variable.
(i) I wonder [whoi they think [that [if Mary marries himi ] then everybody will be happy]]
The appearance of resumptive pronouns is marginal in standard English, but quite acceptable in French and colloquial English. Theoretically, the construction is exceptional as well. Since the if-clause creates an Adjunct Island, extraction of who out of the object position of marries is ungrammatical, as shown in (ii):
(ii) * I wonder [whoi they think [that [if Mary marries ei ] then everybody will be happy]]
- Chomsky, N. 1982. Some concepts and consequences of the theory of government and binding, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
- Chomsky, N. 1981. Lectures on Government and Binding, Foris, Dordrecht.
- Haegeman, Liliane. 1994. Introduction to Government and Binding Theory. 2nd Edn. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Zribi-Hertz, A. 1984. Orphan prepositions in French and the concept of null pronoun, Researchers Linguistique 12,