The subject of adjectives: Syntactic position and semantic interpretation

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Abstract

It is widely accepted that subjects of verbs are base-generated within the (extended) verbal projection. In this paper I argue that the same is not true for predicative adjectives. In line with Baker (2003), I argue that while subjects of adjectives originate below spec,TP, they are not generated within the AP (or aP), but rather in the specifier of a higher functional projection, PredP. I further propose that the semantic relation between an adjective and its subject is not established by direct θ-role assignment. Unlike in the verbal domain, one of the adjective's θ-roles is lexically marked to undergo λ-abstraction in the semantic interface, and cannot be assigned syntactically to the subject. The discussion has consequences for the debate over the base position of subjects of verbs, providing evidence that they are generated in the specifier of the lexical verb, rather than in that of a higher little-v head.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-189
Number of pages41
JournalLinguistic Review
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012

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