Measure phrases as modifiers of adjectives
In some languages, measure phrases can appear with non-compared adjectives : 5 feet tall. I address three questions about this construction: (a) Is the measure phrase an argument of the adjective or an adjunct? (b) What are we to make of the markedness of this construction *142lbs heavy? (c) Why is it that the markedness disappears once the adjective is put in the comparative (2 inches taller alongside 2lbs heavier)? I claim that because degree arguments are ‘functional’, the measure phrase has to be an adjunct and not a syntactic argument of the adjective. Like event modifiers in extended NPs and in VPs, the measure phrase predicates of a degree argument of the adjective. But given the kind of meaning a measure phrase must have to do its job in comparatives and elsewhere, it is not of the right type to directly predicate of a degree argument. I propose a lexically governed type-shift which applies to some adjectives allowing them to combine with a measure phrase.
Keywords :adjective, measure phrase, degree, functional category, lexical, adjunct, argument, antonymy
Pour citer cet article
Roger Schwarzschild, « Measure phrases as modifiers of adjectives », Recherches linguistiques de Vincennes [En ligne], 34 | 2005, mis en ligne le 22 décembre 2006, consulté le 26 avril 2017. URL : http://rlv.revues.org/1401 ; DOI : 10.4000/rlv.1401Haut de page
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