And the Visibility Parameter for D-Adverbs

The proponents of strong lexicalism hold the view that “words” are formed in the lexicon and are opaque for the syntax ((Dowty 1979), (DiSciullo and Williams 1987), (Jackendoff 1990) and many others). Modular morphology, on the other hand, offers the possibility that at least some words are partially formed in the syntax ((Baker 1988), (Borer 1988), (Hale and Keyser 1994), (Chomsky 1995) and many others). In (Stechow 1995) and (Stechow 1996) it has been argued that facts observed with German wieder “again” cannot be accounted for within the framework of strong lexicalism and therefore favour the second position. The authors of this paper want to check these claims by investigating the behaviour of the German adverb fast “ almost”, the other classical adverb to which the method of decomposition has been applied in the linguistic literature (cf. (McCawley 1971)). Most adverbs cannot look into lexical decomposition structures, but some can. In order to have a suitable name, let us call these D-adverbs. Again and almost are the prototypical representatives of this class. The method adopted is to investigate whether fast has access to different aspects of verbal meaning depending on its position. Following (Dowty 1979), resultative verbs and prepositions are decomposed into BECOME + XP, where XP is the result state. Agentive verbs contain an additional AGENT part. Other thematic relations connecting the subject and the event are HOLDER and cause. If the syntax tells us that an adverb like wieder or fast must have wide scope with respect to BECOME, then we expect other readings than in a configuration where fast can have narrow scope with respect to BECOME. In other words, the motivation for decomposition is syntactic and semantic. The idea is that certain function projections in the classical VP have a meaning and hence scopally interact with adverbs
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