Transparent free relatives in English
Transparent free relatives (TFRs) are constituents involving a WH-gap dependency in which the phrase that is predicated of the gap associated with 'what', not the wh-phrase itself, functions as the syntactic and semantic "nucleus." Previous analyses have either treated TFRs as a construction radically different from ordinary FRs, utilizing such mechanisms as parenthetical placement or grafts, or assimilated them to ordinary FRs, relying on abstract/empty head elements and a vague semantic relation holding between the gap and the predicate phrase. In this paper, we investigate how the puzzling properties of English TFRs can be accounted for in HPSG. The paper shows that the transparency effect of TRFs can be handled by feature inheritance from the nucleus predicate phrase, together with a constructional constraint that deals with the exocentric property of TFRs.