The size of noun modifiers and degree quantifier movement


Direct attributive uses of adjectives have often been considered a characteristic property of adjectives. Recent studies suggest, however, that some languages lack direct modification by adjectives entirely and that they only allow for indirect modification using relative clauses. At first glance, Japanese seems to fit into the group of languages that lack direct adjectival modification, and this is in fact a widely accepted view on Japanese adjectival modification. This paper presents evidence for noun modifiers without the support of finite TP and CP in Japanese, using scopal behavior of degree quantifiers as a probe into the modification structure. Japanese adjectival modifiers do not show the scope island effect for degree quantifiers that is expected under the view that they are finite relative clauses. If our analysis is on the right track, there is no need for a stipulation in the grammar of Japanese to block adjectives from forming direct modifiers.

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Shimoyama, J. The size of noun modifiers and degree quantifier movement. J East Asian Linguist 23, 307–331 (2014).

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  • Modification
  • Adjectives
  • Relative clauses
  • Degree quantification
  • Superlatives
  • Scope island effect
  • Japanese