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Book Information

   
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Title: Gradability in the Nominal Domain
Series Title: LOT dissertation series
Description:

This dissertation investigates whether and how gradability is manifested in
the nominal domain, as well as the implications this has for theories of the
representation of gradability.It is shown that the various gradability
diagnostics proposed in the literature not only yield different results, but that
they do not actually work as could be expected. In case after case, other
factors turn out to underlie the noted effects: epistemicity and evidentiality
(cf. the epistemic verb seem and real-type adjectives), the expression of a
value judgment (e.g. N of an N constructions), the delineation of salient sub-
kinds identifiable by natural consequences (cf. internal such) and abstract
size modification (e.g. when a size adjective like big modifies a noun
denoting an instance of a property or a set of individuals defined in terms of
such an abstract object). Our investigation leads to the unexpected
conclusion that there are no grammatical contexts in the nominal domain that
are exclusively reserved for a particular class of nouns that could properly be
called gradable. As a result, there is no motivation for postulating a degree
structure in the syntactic representation of nouns. In addition, there are no
expressions performing the type of semantic operations familiar from degree
modification in the adjectival domain that would indicate the existence of a
grammatically accessible gradable structure in the semantics of nouns at the
lexical level. The tale of this dissertation is therefore a cautionary one:
arguments to reduce gradability in the nominal and in the adjectival domain to
the same phenomenon are misguided. This study shows the importance of a
cross-categorial perspective for a better understanding of gradability. It is of
interest to a general syntactic and semantic readership.

Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Semantics
Syntax
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Versions:
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9789460930720