Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:


Still Needed:


Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

New from Cambridge University Press!


Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

Query Details

Query Subject:   The Syntax of Transitive Adjectives
Author:   Fernando Martinho
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Syntax
Subject Language(s):  Dutch

Query:   Dear Linguists, I am working on aspects of adjectival syntax, and have specific questions about Dutch and German transitive adjectives (TA). As I am not a Germanic speaker, I?ll use relevant examples from linguistic literature. On the morphological side, it is well known that Dutch and German prenominal (attributive) adjectives are inflected, but that in predicative position, part of the adjectival inflection is dropped. As for syntax, attributive and predicative positions seem to offer interesting data. I pay special attention to TA, which can select or subcategorize complements (DP, PP or even CP ones), like 'proud', 'able', 'full', 'faithful', 'akin', 'similar', 'loyal', 'identical' (resulting in phrases like 'full of water', 'loyal to the king', 'proud of his country', 'unable to see', etc). Dutch and German TA show clear differences according to their position: predicative TA can follow OR precede their complement, but attributive TA can ONLY follow their complement. Some canonical data with 'proud': For predicative transitive constructions: A.Dutch 5.De vrouw is trots op zichzelf (the woman is proud of herself) 6.De vrouw is op zichzelf trots (the woman is of herself proud) B.German (same sentence) 7.Die Frau ist stolz auf sich 8.Die Frau ist auf sich stolz For attributive transitive constructions A.Dutch 9.De op zichzelf trotse vrouw (the proud of herself woman) 10. *De trotse op zichzelf vrouw B.German (same sentence) 11.Die auf sich stolze Frau 12.*Die stolze auf sich Frau According to these examples, there must be no complement between the attributive TA and the noun, that is they have to be adjacent, which forces the adjectival complement to precede the adjective (complement/adjective order, see examples 9 to 12). But this restriction vanishes with predicative TA (there is no noun which the adjective must be adjacent to), and both orders coexist (complement/adjective or adjective/complement order, see 5 to 8) This data and analysis has already been used in the generative/minimalist framework to achieve a better insight of the structure and projections of DP and AP. Here is what I am interested in: 1.First of all I need fresh data on TA. I need to make sure the precedent examples are not isolated cases, like some kind of lexicalized expressions. Do TA systematically reveal this kind of syntactic behavior in Dutch and German? Using the adjectives of the above list, or any other adjective selecting some kind of complement, please provide examples of both attributive and predicative constructions. I need the English translations too :) 2.I am also potentially interested in any other languages. Any example should focus, however, on TA (or what i call TA). I would be delighted to verify if the complement/adjective order detected above can reproduce cross-linguistically 3.As a French native speaker, I have limited needs on Romance languages. I know that French prohibits the complement/adjective order, but I am unsure about others. My interest goes specially to Spanish and Italian and their dialects. As for Spanish, I think it follows the Romance adjective/complement pattern, but counter-examples would be great. 4.I also pay careful attention to diachronic data. For 2 Romance languages, I already have partial evidence on the fact that the adjective/complement order goes back up to the XVI? century and that the inverse order disappears at the same stage. What i need is some evidence from Old French, as from any other languages' medieval stages. 5.References on the syntax and semantics of TA As always, a SUM of answers will be posted. Best, Fernando fmartinho@dlc.ua.pt
LL Issue: 16.77
Date posted: 13-Jan-2005


Sums main page