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Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

By David Crystal

Offers a unique view of the English language and its development, and includes witty commentary and anecdotes along the way.


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The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics

By Asya Pereltsvaig and Martin W. Lewis

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Academic Paper


Title: Attributive adjectives, infinitival relatives, and the semantics of inappropriateness
Author: Nicholas Fleisher
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/fleishen/www/
Linguistic Field: Semantics; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: I investigate the syntax and semantics of a previously unexamined English adjective construction, exemplified by sentences like Middlemarch is a long book to assign. The construction, which I call the nominal attributive-with-infinitive construction (nominal AIC), is of interest for the semantics of gradability and modality. I argue that the major interpretive characteristic of the nominal AIC – the interpretation of inappropriateness associated with it – arises from the interaction between the positive degree operator associated with the gradable adjective and the modality of the infinitival relative clause, which contributes to the computation of the standard of comparison. Nominal AICs are compared and contrasted with a surface-identical construction I call the clausal AIC, with attributive too, and with attributive comparatives; they are shown to exhibit major syntactic and semantic differences from all of these. The paper serves both as a contribution to the semantic literature on gradability and as a contribution to the descriptive grammar of English, as it is, to the best of my knowledge, the first systematic description and analysis of the nominal AIC.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Linguistics Vol. 47, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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