Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 897–938 | Cite as

Adjectival participles, event kind modification and pseudo-incorporation

  • Berit GehrkeEmail author


Due to their hybrid nature, German adjectival participles display properties of both adjectives and verbs. In particular, their verbal behaviour is evidenced by the restricted availability of manner and other event-related modifiers. I propose that German adjectival participles denote degrees (state kinds), which accounts for their adjectival behaviour, and that an adjectival passive construction refers to the instantiation of a consequent state kind of an event kind, which accounts for the verbal properties. Event-related modifiers that name event participants, i.e. phrases headed by by or with, are analysed in terms of pseudo-incorporation. This account is motivated by the fact that the nouns in such phrases display properties of pseudo-incorporated nouns, such as discourse opacity and the requirement of naming an institutionalised or conventionalised activity or state, together with the verb/participle these phrases incorporate into. The restrictions on event-related modification, then, follow from general restrictions on kind modification and on pseudo-incorporation.


Events Kinds Adjectival passive Verbal passive Adjective Degree Manner Modification Incorporation Pseudo-incorporation Scale structure 



This paper grew out of general research on adjectival passives over the past couple of years, and I am indebted to the following people for fruitful discussion and comments: Klaus Abels, Artemis Alexiadou, Elena Anagnostopoulou, Boban Arsenijević, Gennaro Chierchia, Berry Claus, Edit Doron, Helga Gese, Scott Grimm, Ai Kubota, Claudia Maienborn, Rafa Marín, Andrew McIntyre, Louise McNally, Hans-Robert Mehlig, Olav Mueller-Reichau, Antje Roßdeutscher, Cristina Marco, Florian Schäfer, Lisa Travis, Carla Umbach. This work has been supported by a grant to the project JCI-2010-08581 from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, and by a grant to the project FFI2012-34170 from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Linguistique Formelle, UMR 7110CNRS/Université Paris DiderotParis cedex 13France

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