Degree modification of gradable nouns: size adjectives and adnominal degree morphemes [Book Review]

Natural Language Semantics 17 (2):175-203 (2009)
Degree readings of size adjectives, as in big stamp-collector, cannot be explained away as merely the consequence of some extragrammatical phenomenon. Rather, this paper proposes that they actually reflect the grammatical architecture of nominal gradability. Such readings are available only for size adjectives in attributive positions, and systematically only for adjectives that predicate bigness. These restrictions can be understood as part of a broader picture of gradable NPs in which adnominal degree morphemes—often overt—play a key role, analogous to their role in the extended AP. Size adjectives acquire degree readings through a degree morpheme similar to the one that licenses AP-modifying measure phrases. Its syntax gives rise to positional restrictions on the availability of these readings, and the semantics of degree measurement interacts with the scale structure of size adjectives to give rise to restrictions on the adjective itself
Keywords Degree modification  Gradability  Nominals  Adjectives  Scale structure  Vagueness
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DOI 10.1007/s11050-009-9045-7
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References found in this work BETA

Vagueness, Truth and Logic.Kit Fine - 1975 - Synthese 30 (3-4):265-300.
Reference to Kinds Across Language.Gennaro Chierchia - 1998 - Natural Language Semantics 6 (4):339-405.
Prototype Theory and Compositionality.H. Kamp - 1995 - Cognition 57 (2):129-191.

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