Original Paper

The Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 1-42

First online:

Something inner- and cross-linguistically different

  • Dorian RoehrsAffiliated withDepartment of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of North Texas Email author 

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Pronominal constructions such as something big, often referred to as the ‘indefinite pronoun construction’, have received different but often homogenous accounts in the literature. In this paper, I document the inner- and cross-linguistic diversity of this construction in German and some other languages. Highlighting respectively different sets of properties, I argue that there are three basic types: one type combines the adjective and the pronoun by complementation, another by adjunction, and a third involves a garden-variety DP. Adjunction is argued to be mediated by a Modifier Phrase (Rubin, E.J., Proceedings of the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, CSLI, Stanford, 429–439, 1996). The latter assumption is shown to have a number of advantages.


‘Indefinite pronoun + adjective’ Indefinite pronoun construction Pronominal DP Complementation Adjunction Modifier Phrase Pre-nominal and post-nominal adjectives Genitive Concord