The Syntax of Transitive Adjectives
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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:
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
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
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
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.
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