Modification - Michigan State University

hard-won analytical tools in hand, but soon discover that work in semantics varies widely in formalism, style of analysis, and theoretical assumptions.
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DRAFT

Modification Marcin Morzycki Michigan State University

June 12, 2013 Latest revision: June 2014

This is a draft of a book in preparation for the Cambridge University Press series Key Topics in Semantics and Pragmatics. It’s something between a textbook for people with a basic background in semantics and an introductory survey of work on the semantics of adjectives, adverbs, and degrees. For a fuller explanation, see section 1.2. Comments would be extremely helpful, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any, even very minor ones.

DRAFT

Contents

vii

Acknowledgments 1 Preliminaries 1.1 Two problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2 What this book is and isn’t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3 Background assumptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3.1 Glossing logical notation . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3.2 Theoretical framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3.3 Notational and typographical conventions 1.4 What, if anything, is modification? . . . . . . . . . . 1.5 Roadmap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1 . . . . . . . 1 . . . . . . 2 . . . . . . 3 . . . . . . 3 . . . . . . 4 . . . . . . . 7 . . . . . . 8 . . . . . . 12

2 The Lexical Semantics of Adjectives: More Than Just Scales 2.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2 How adjectives and nouns combine: a typology . . . . . . . . 2.2.1 Intersective interpretations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.2 Subsective interpretations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.3 Apparently subsective intersective interpretations . . 2.2.4 Ordinary non-subsective adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.5 Privative adjectives, which may not exist . . . . . . . 2.3 The type of adjectives and the nature of subsectivity . . . . . 2.3.1 How powerful are adjectives? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.2 Siegel: The Doublet Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.3 Larson: events inside the nominal extended projection 2.3.4 The implicit argument approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.5 How much power is too much?: Impossible adjectives 2.4 The menagerie of adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.1 A word about adjective classification . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.2 Temporal-ordering adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.3 Classificatory/relational adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.4 The trouble with stone lions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.5 The attributive-with-infinitive construction . . . . . .

13 13 14 14 16 20 22 24 26 26 30 34 41 42 43 43 44 48 52 55

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CONTENTS

2.4.6 Adnominal degree modifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5 Adjectives where they have no right to be: adverbial readings 2.5.1 A scope puzzle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.2 Frequency adjectives: the facts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.3 The adverbial reading of frequency adjectives . . . . 2.5.4 The internal reading of frequency adjectives . . . . . 2.5.5 Average Americans and parasitic scope . . . . . . . . . 2.5.6 Sameness and difference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.7 Other adverbial readings and the bigger picture . . . 2.6 Adjective position and syntactic issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.6.1 Attributive vs. predicative, prenominal vs. postnominal 2.6.2 Indirect modification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.6.3 Stage-level/individual-level contrasts . . . . . . . . . 2.6.4 A focus position? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.6.5 What is it to be an adjective? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Vagueness, Degrees, and Gradable Predicates 3.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2 Vagueness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2.1 Identifying vagueness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2.2 Vagueness vs. ambiguity . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2.3 Vagueness vs. imprecision . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2.4 Some foundational questions . . . . . . . . . . 3