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Dissertation Information

Title: The Syntax and Semantics of Adjectival Modification Add Dissertation
Author: Gary Scott Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of London, PhD Linguistics
Completed in: 2002
Linguistic Subfield(s): Semantics; Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Chinese, Mandarin
Language Family(ies): Romance
Director(s): Wynn Chao

Abstract: This thesis develops from the work of Cinque (2000) and Scott (1998). It
argues that a richly articulated hierarchy of functional projections (FPs)
is able to account for the cross-linguistic syntax and semantics of
adjectival modification.

Chapter 1 explores whether the somewhat arbitrary inventory of FPs proposed
in Scott (1998) may be refined and whether those FPs cluster in more
“interesting” ways, and looks at how event structure interacts with and
constrains the interpretation of adjectives in attributive modification

Chapter 2 presents a review and critique of the literature on adjectival
modification in Romance. It also presents new data on the Romance and
Celtic “AP”. In addition, this chapter introduces the work of Sadler &
Arnold (1994).

Chapter 3 integrates Sadler & Arnold’s work on “small” constructions with a
“Cinquean-style” hierarchy and shows how the notion of “small” construction
may be used to explain modification patterns in Romance. It also proposes
a DP-related FP, Predicative Phrase (PredP) to account for cross-linguistic
cases of postnominal adjectives with “comma” intonation.

Chapter 4 discusses the syntax and semantics of degree-related
semi-expletive elements that obligatorily emerge in the extended projection
of the Chinese “AP” as a consequence of the requirement that Chinese
imposes on its overt syntax to saturate an adjective’s d(egree) argument.
It develops an account of adverbial degree modification in terms of the
framework for degree semantics outlined in Doetjes et al. (1998) and argues
that certain expletive degree elements in Chinese perform the semantic
function of existential closure.

Finally, Chapter 5 discusses adjectival modification in Japanese. It
argues that natural language makes use of The Semantic Zones Hypothesis and
argues that this hypothesis, in conjunction with Rubin’s notion of ModP
(2002), is able to account for why we find two classes of adjective in
Japanese, and on a broader scale, for why certain languages display fixed
adjectival ordering restrictions and others do not.