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LINGUIST List 16.1227

Mon Apr 18 2005

Sum: The Syntax of Transitive Adjectives

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        1.    Fernando Martinho, The Syntax of Transitive Adjectives

Message 1: The Syntax of Transitive Adjectives
Date: 18-Apr-2005
From: Fernando Martinho <fmartinhodlc.ua.pt>
Subject: The Syntax of Transitive Adjectives

Regarding query: http://www.linguistlist.org/issues/16/16-77.html#1

Dear Linguists

First of all, my apologies for the unusual delay of this sum.

Last January, I posted a query about transitive adjectives (TA), asking for
feed-back in terms of data and references. And, as expected, I received
many contributions on TA. Here is a sum of them, in no particular order.

Ora Matushansky, which works on adjectives as well, sent some references:

-Bennis, H. (2000). Adjectives and Argument Structure. In: P. Coopmans, M.
Everaert and J. Grimshaw, eds., Lexical Specification and Insertion.
Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 197. Amsterdam/Philadephia: John
Bernjamins, pp. 27-69.

-Bennis, H. (2004). Adjectives and Psych Verbs. In: A. Alexiadou, E.
Anagnostopoulou and M. Everaert, eds., The Unaccusativity Puzzle:
Explorations of the Syntax-Lexicon Interface. Oxford Studies in Theoretical
Linguistics 5. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 84-114.

-van Riemsdijk, H. (2001). A Far from Simple Matter: Syntactic Reflexes of
Syntax-Pragmatics Misalignments. In: R. M. Harnish and I. Kenesei, eds.,
Semantics, Pragmatics and Discourse. Perspectives and Connections. A
Festschrift for Ferenc Kiefer. Amsterdam: John Benjamins

She also pointed a ''third option for adjectival complements'': the
extraposition of the argument (a different problem from yours, a more
interesting question than this).

There's some discussion (on comparative complement extraposition) in:

-Bhatt, R. and R. Pancheva (2004). Late Merge of Degree Clauses. Linguistic
Inquiry 35/1, pp. 1-45.


-Matushansky, O. (2002). Movement of Degree/Degree of Movement. Ph.D.
thesis, MIT. Cambridge MA: MITWPL.

she argues that ''most postnominal transitive adjectives with complements
are reduced relatives''

Ora also points out that ''Russian allows prenominal adjectives with
complements'' (positioned to the right of the adjectival head):

gordaja svoimi dostizhenijami devushka
proud-Fsg self-PossAdj-pl-Instr achievements-Instr young_woman


Werner Abraham informs that he has ''dealt extensively with adjectival
goverment in German and Dutch'' in his grammar, chapter 4, pp. 241-280:

-Deutsche Syntax im Sprachenvergleich. Grundlegung einer typologischen
Syntax des Deutschen. 2., über­arbeitete und erweiterte Auflage.
Stauffenburg: Tübingen 2005. 690 Seiten. [Studien zur deutschen Gram­matik 41].


Theo Venneman sent me the following pertinent German data:

der mir liebe Freund

der mir besonders liebe Freund

Der Freund ist mir lieb.

*Der Freund ist lieb mir.

Der Freund ist mir besonders lieb.

*Der Freund ist lieb mir besonders. (Etc.)

der Herrn Müller liebe Freund

Der Freund ist Herrn Müller lieb.

*Der Freund ist lieb Herrn Müller. (Etc.)


In another mesage, Theo sent some other interesting cases:

Dieser Freund, mir besonders lieb, hat mich verraten.
'This friend especially dear to me has betrayed me.'

Dieser Freund, Herrn Müller besonders lieb, hat ihn verraten.
'This friend especially dear to Mr. Miller has betrayed him.'

Object extraposition:

Dieser Freund, besonders lieb diesem Herrn Müller, hat ihn verraten.
'This friend especially dear to this Mr. Miller has betrayed him.'


Pierre Larrivee sent a note to say that ''Denis Bouchard has a book just
out (or soon to be) on adjectives, with Chicago UP.''


Bruce Despain pointed that adjectival complement order seems ''correlated''
to German verbal complement syntax in subordinate clauses:

''You neglected to say anything about the possible relationship between the
inverted order (of object and verb) required in subordinate clauses and the
inverted order seen in the complementation of adjectives in attributive
position. I suspect that these phenomena may well be correlated. Sorry I
can't cite references, but I seem to remember it somewhere from my German
linguistics studies in the 1970's. Perhaps it was presented as
hypothetical. (Manfred Bierwisch comes to mind.) I think the inverted
order of TA compl. in attr. pos. is alive and well in German.

What I meant by ''correlated'' is to the effect that since German has the
verb to the right of the object in dependent clauses, so it prefers the
adjective to the right of its object in the attributive position. The
attribute position may be viewed as derivative of the predicate position,
just as the dependent clause is derivative of an independent clause.''

Bruce illustrates this correlation with some examples:

''Ich liebe dich.''
>>I love thee.
''Er sagte dass ich dich liebe.''
>>He said that I love thee.
poetic:>>He said that I thee love.

''Die Mutter ist stolz auf ihre Kind.''
>>Its mother is proud of her child.
''Ich treffte die auf ihr Kind stolze Mutter.''
>>I met the mother who was proud of her child.

Then he precises his correlation hypothesis: ''My feeling is that since the
language requires the reversal in one structure, the reversal in the other
structure is parallel. Perhaps this is a case where the two dependent
structures are at the same removal by ''derivation'' from the parallel
independent structures. When the language does not allow reversal, perhaps
the general rule is that it will not even allow complementation of
adjectives as attributes.''


Stefan Dienst sent these precious German TA examples:

(1a) Die Frau ist eifersüchtig auf ihr-e Tochter.
the woman is jealous on her-AKK.f daughter
The woman is jealous of her daughter.

(1b) Die Frau ist auf ihr-e Tochter eifersüchtig.
the woman is on her-AKK.f daughter jealous
The woman is jealous of her daughter.

(1c) die auf ihr-e Tochter eifersüchtig-e Frau
the on her-AKK.f daughter jealous-NOM.f woman
the woman who jealous of her daugher

(1d) *die eifersüchtig-e auf ihr-e Tochter Frau
the.f jealous-NOM.f on her-ACC.f daughter woman

(2a) Die Frau ist bekannt mit dem
the.NOM.f woman is acquainted with the.DAT.m mayor
The woman is acquainted with the mayor.

(2b) Die Frau ist mit dem Bürgermeister bekannt.
the.NOM.f woman is with the.DAT.m mayor acquainted
The woman is acquainted with the mayor.

(2c) die mit dem Bürgermeister bekannte Frau
the.NOM.f with the.DAT.m mayor acquainted woman
the woman who is acquainted with the mayor

(2d) *die bekannte mit dem Bürgermeister Frau
the.NOM.f acquainted with the.DAT.m mayor woman

(3a) *Die Frau ist bekannt dem Bürgermeister.
the.NOM.f woman is known the.DAT.m mayor

(3b) Die Frau ist dem Bürgermeister bekannt.
the.NOM.F woman is the.DAT.m mayor known
The woman is known to the mayor.

(3c) die dem Bürgermeister bekannte Frau
the.NOM.f the.DAT.m mayor known woman
the woman who is known to the mayor

(3d) *die bekannte dem Bürgermeister Frau
the.NOM.f known the.DAT.m mayor woman

(4a) *Die Frau ist überdrüssig des Klatsch-es
the.NOM.f woman is tired the.GEN.m gossip-GEN.m

(4b) Die Frau ist des Klatsch-es
the.NOM.f woman is the.GEN.m gossip-GEN.m tired
The woman is tired of the gossip. (überdrüssig = enfastiado)

(4c) *Die Frau ist überdrüssig des Klatsch-es.
the.NOM.f woman is tired the.GEN.m gossip-GEN.m

(4d) Die Frau ist des Klatsch-es
the.NOM.f woman is the.GEN.m gossip-GEN.m tired
The woman is tired of the gossip.

(5a) Die Frau ist zuversichtlich, dass er komm-t.
the.NOM.f woman is confident that he come-s
The woman is confident that he will come.

(5b) *Die Frau ist dass er komm-t zuversichtlich.
the.NOM.f woman is that he come-s confident

(5c) *die dass er komm-t zuversichtlich-e Frau
the.NOM.f that he come-s confident-NOM.f woman

(5d) *die zuversichtlich-e dass er komm-t Frau
the.NOM.f confident-NOM.f that he come-s woman

(5e) die zuversichtlich-e Frau
the.NOM.f confident-NOM.f woman
the confident woman

(5f) die Frau, die zuversichtlich ist, dass er komm-t
the.NOM.f woman who.NOM.f confident is that he come-s
the woman(,) who is confident that he will come


Finally, Hans Bennis also contacted me, pointing me to the website of the
Meertens Instituut, with an article published in the volume 'The
unaccusativity Puzzle', edited by Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou & Everaert
(2004, Oxford University Press). He actually sent me a hard copy of the
text :)


To everyone who contacted me, my grateful thanks. All these notes are
relevant to my investigation. The suggested relation to unaccusativity, for
example, is a new, wide opened perspective to my work, which I'll try to
explore intensively. I also thank those who kindly kept in touch with me
and sent extra comments and material. What would I do without you all?

Fernando Martinho
University of Aveiro

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Subject Language(s): Dutch (DUT)
German, Standard (GER)

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