Etymology:Term coined by linguist John R. Ross in his dissertation, "Constraints on variables in syntax" (MIT, 1967)
Examples and Observations:
- "pied-piping The construction in which a preposition is moved to the front of its clause, just before its object. Examples: To whom were you speaking?; With what did they hit it?; The shop from which I bought my gloves. As can be seen, this construction is rather formal in English; the more colloquial equivalents are Who were you speaking to?; What did they hit it with?; The shop (which) I bought my gloves from, with preposition stranding."
(R.L. Trask, Dictionary of English Grammar. Penguin, 2000)
- "We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned."
(V for Vendetta, 2005)
- "Max Power! He's the man whose name you'd love to touch!"
(Homer Simpson, The Simpsons, 1999)
- Pied Piping vs. Stranding
"Pied piping (i.e. preposition+relativizer) in relative prepositional constructions is [a] feature that may indicate formal speech. Stranding of the preposition is usually looked upon as less formal where variation between the two constructions is possible (see Johannsson and Geisler 1998). . . .
"A good representative of a male letter writer who uses pied piping constructions is Lord Byron. In all 18 of his prepositional constructions, piped piping occurs. In 13 of these, there is a choice between pied piping and stranding.
I have gotten a very pretty Cambrian girl there of whom I grew foolishly fond, [...] There is the whole history of circumstances to which you may have possibly heard some allusion [...]Stranding, on the other hand, is more frequently used by female letter writers (37%) than by male letter writers (15%). In example (39), which is from Jane Austen's letters, it is possible to see variation between pied piping and stranding.
(Letters, George Byron, 1800-1830, p.II, 155)
He was seized on saturday with a return of the feverish complaint, which he had been subject to for the last three years; [...] A Physician was called in yesterday morning, but he was at that time past all possibility of cure---& Dr. Gibbs and Mr. Bowen had scarcely left his room before he sunk into a Sleep from which he never awoke. [p. 62] [...] Oh! dear Fanny, your mistake has been one that thousands of women fall into. [p.173](Christine Johansson, "The Use of Relativizers Across Speaker Roles and Gender: Explorations in 19th-Century Trials, Drama and Letters." Corpus Linguistics Beyond the Word: Corpus Research From Phrase to Discourse, ed. by Eileen Fitzpatrick. Rodopi, 2007)
(Letters, Jane Austen, 1800-1830, p. 62, 173)
- One of the surprising mysteries of grammar is the existence of Pied-Piping, the fact that the grammar machine may move more than is initially needed:
4. (a) a picture of whom did he see. . . Note that, in principle, the same distinction, less contrastive intuitively, is found in cases like:
4. (b) who did he see a picture of
4. (c) who did you talk to(Tom Roeper, "Multiple Grammars, Feature Attraction, Pied-Piping, and the Question: Is Agr Inside TP?" in (In)vulnerable Domains in Multilingualism, ed. by Natascha Müller. John Benjamins, 2003)
4. (d) to whom did you talk.