LINGUIST List 7.1601

Wed Nov 13 1996

Disc: Adjectives with possessor nouns

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Robert Beard, Adjectives with possessor nouns

Message 1: Adjectives with possessor nouns

Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 07:42:30 EST
From: Robert Beard <>
Subject: Adjectives with possessor nouns

>>We again have a three-way typology, with expression of the
>>property concept as verb, noun, or adjective:

The three-way typology is a lexical phenomenon which can hardly affect
syntactic order. It is also the case that languages have three and
only three ways of expressing actions (go (V), going (N),
going/gone(A) ) and three ways of expressing referential terms
(befriend, friend, friendly). The reason for this is that N, V, A
represent the extent of lexical classes and, since lexical classes
represent semantic categories which do not map one-one onto lexical
categories, the lexicon has to maintain derivational means of
converting these semantic categories from one lexical class to
another. The languages that I am familiar with which express
adjectives as verbs (Kamchadal languages) also have 'participles'
which allow verbs to be expressed as adjectives and nouns.

The point is that, despite the claims of Minimalism, N, V, A cannot be
mixed with grammatical morphemes of any type because they are subject
to lexical derivation and the latter are not. [There is a catalog of
other differences, too, all neatly laid out in 'Lexeme-Morpheme Base
Morphology, SUNY Press, 1995.] Since the problem of the three means of
expression is lexical, I don't see how it could impinge on syntactic
ordering at all.

- Bob
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Robert Beard Bucknell University
Russian & Linguistics Programs Lewisburg, PA 17837 717-524-1336
Russian Program
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