A Type-Based Approach To Adjectival Distribution
Most English adjectives can appear either prenominally or as predicates. a. the red rose b. (1) Roses are red. There are also adjectives that can appear only in one position or the other, but not in both: (2) a. * the awake child b. (3) The child is awake. a. the former president b. * The president is former. The primary goal of this dissertation will be to address two questions that arise from this data. First, what is the relationship between prenominal red and predicative red? Second, what causes some adjectives, including awake and former, to be ungrammatical in prenominal and predicate positions, respectively? To answer these questions, I will appeal to the theory of semantic types and posit a type-shifting operator that is always present when an adjective appears in predicate position. The vast majority of English adjectives, including red, can either occur in their basic form prenominally or combine with the operator to produce viable predicates. Adjectives like awake cannot occur without the operator and as such are restricted to predicate positions. Adjectives like former can combine with the operator but the resulting predicates are ruled out by a constraint on trivial predication.
semantics; adjectives; triviality in grammar
Zec, Draga; Rooth, Mats
Ph. D., Linguistics
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis