Advertisement

Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 1101–1137 | Cite as

Similatives and the argument structure of verbs

  • Jessica Rett
Article

Abstract

I begin with the observation in Haspelmath and Buchholz (1998) that languages tend to use the same morpheme to mark the standard of comparison across equation constructions. In English, it is the morpheme as, in similatives like John danced as Sue (did) and equatives like John is as tall as Sue (is). The first goal of this paper is to provide an analysis of as that accounts for its distribution across these constructions. The second goal of this paper is to provide an account of Haspelmath and Buccholz’s second observation, which is that while languages can form equatives with parameter markers (PMs; the first as in John is as tall as Sue (is)), languages generally do not form similatives with parameter markers. I suggest that equation constructions are a test for lexicalized argumenthood, i.e. that the equation of a non-lexicalized argument prohibits the presence of a PM, and, for English, vice-versa. This leads to the conclusion that, contrary to recent claims (Piñón 2008; Bochnak 2013), verbs, unlike adjectives, generally do not lexicalize degree arguments.

Keywords

Equatives Similatives Comparatives Manners Gradable adjectives Lexical semantics Degree semantics Verb scales Relative clauses 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks to audiences at California Universities Semantics and Pragmatics (CUSP) 4 at USC and the Workshop on Aspect and Argument Structure of Adjectives and Participles (WAASAP) at the University of Greenwich. I am grateful to Natasha Abner for her help in data research, Adrian Brasoveanu, Sam Cumming, Louise McNally, Craig Sailor and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions, and to Flavia Adani, Isabelle Charnavel, Thomas Graf, Hilda Koopman, Hadas Kotek, Sven Lauer, Denis Paperno, Elena Staraki and Floris Van Vugt for their participation in a survey.

References

  1. Alrenga, Peter. 2007. Dimensions in the semantics of comparatives. PhD Thesis, UC Santa Cruz. Google Scholar
  2. Armstrong, Sharon, Lila Gleitman, and Henry Gleitman. 1983. What some concepts might not be. Cognition 13: 263–308. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barker, Chris. 2007. Parasitic scope. Linguistics and Philosophy 30: 407–444. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bartsch, Renate and Theo Venneman. 1972. The grammar of relative adjectives and comparison. Linguistische Berichte 20: 19–32. Google Scholar
  5. Barwise, Jon and John Perry. 1983. Situation semantics. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  6. Bhatt, Rajesh and Shoichi Takahashi. 2007. Direct comparisons: Resurrecting the direct analysis of phrasal comparatives. In Proceedings of SALT XVII, eds. Masayuki Gibson and Tova Friedman, 19–36. Ithaca: Cornell University. Google Scholar
  7. Bochnak, M. Ryan. 2011. Quantity and gradability across categories. In Proceedings of SALT XX, eds. Nan Li and David Lutz, 251–268. Ithaca: Cornell University. Google Scholar
  8. Bochnak, M. Ryan. 2013. Two sources of scalarity within the verb phrase. In Studies in the composition and decomposition of event predicates, eds. Boban Arsenijević, Berit Gehrke, and Rafael Marín, 99–123. Berlin: Springer. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Borsley, Robert. 1981. Wh-movement and unbounded deletion in Polish equatives. Journal of Linguistics 17: 271–288. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brasoveanu, Adrian. 2008. Sentence-internal readings of same/different as quantifier-internal anaphora. In Proceedings of WCCFL XVII, eds. Natasha Abner and Jason Bishop, 72–80. Somerville: Cascadilla Press. Google Scholar
  11. Brasoveanu, Adrian. 2009. Comparative correlatives as anaphora to differentials. In Proceedings of SALT XVII, eds. Tova Friedman and Satoshi Ito, 126–143. Ithaca: Cornell University. Google Scholar
  12. Bresnan, Joan. 1973. Syntax of comparative clause construction in English. Linguistic Inquiry 4: 275–344. Google Scholar
  13. Caponigro, Ivano. 2002. On the source of maximality in wh-constructions cross linguistically. In Proceedings of the 38th meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society, eds. Mary Andronis, Erin Debenport, Anne Pycha, and Keiko Yoshimura, 129–143. Chicago: Chicago Linguistics Society. Google Scholar
  14. Caponigro, Ivano. 2003. Free not to ask: On the semantics of free relatives and wh-words cross-linguistically. PhD Thesis, UCLA. Google Scholar
  15. Caponigro, Ivano. 2004. The semantic contribution of wh-words and type-shifts: Evidence from free relatives cross linguistically. In Proceedings of SALT XIV, ed. Robert Young, 38–55. Ithaca: Cornell University. Google Scholar
  16. Caudal, Patrick and David Nichols. 2005. Types of degrees and types of event structures. In Event arguments: Foundations and applications, eds. Cecile Maienborn and Angelika Wöllstein, 277–300. Berlin: De Gruyter. Google Scholar
  17. Chomsky, Noam. 1977. On wh-movement. In Formal syntax, eds. Peter Culicover, Thomas Wasow and Adrian Akmajian, 71–132. San Diego: Academic Press. Google Scholar
  18. Cole, Peter. 1982. Imbabura Quechua. Amsterdam: North-Holland. Google Scholar
  19. Corver, Norbert. 1997. Much-support as last resort. Linguistic Inquiry 28: 119–164. Google Scholar
  20. Davidson, Donald. 1969. The individuation of events. In Essays in honor of Carl G. Hempel, ed. Nicholas Rescher, 216–234. Dordrecht: Reidel. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dowty, David Roach. 1979. Word meaning and Montague Grammar. Dordrecht: Reidel. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fischer, Wolfdietrich. 1987. Grammatik des klassischen Arabisch. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. Google Scholar
  23. Haspelmath, Martin and Oda Buchholz. 1998. Equative and similative constructions in the languages of Europe. In Adverbial constructions in the languages of Europe, eds. Johan van der Auwera and Dónall Ó Baoill, 277–334. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Google Scholar
  24. Hay, Jennifer, Chris Kennedy, and Beth Levin. 1999. Scalar structure underlies telicity in “degree achievements”. In Proceedings of SALT IX, eds. Tanya Matthews and Devon Strolovitch, 127–144. Ithaca: Cornell University. Google Scholar
  25. Heim, Irene. 2000. Degree operators and scope. In Proceedings of SALT X, eds. Brendan Jackson and Tanya Matthews, 40–64. Ithaca: Cornell University. Google Scholar
  26. Heim, Irene. 1985. Notes on comparatives and related matters. Ms., University of Texas, Austin. Google Scholar
  27. Heim, Irene. 2006. Remarks on comparative clauses as generalized quantifiers, Ms., MIT. Google Scholar
  28. Henkelmann, Peter. 2006. Constructions of equative comparison. Sprachtypologie und Universallenforschung 59: 370–398. Google Scholar
  29. Hinrichs, Erhard. 1985. A compositional semantics for aktionsart and NP reference for English. PhD Thesis, Ohio State University. Google Scholar
  30. Horn, Larry. 1972. On the semantic properties of logical operators in English. PhD Thesis, UCLA. Google Scholar
  31. Husband, Matthew. 2013. Rescuing manner/result complementarity from certain death. In Proceedings of the 47th annual Chicago Linguistics Society. Chicago: CLS. Google Scholar
  32. Jacobson, Pauline. 1995. On the quantificational force of English free relatives. In Quantification in natural language, eds. Emmon Bach, Eloise Jelinek, Angelika Kratzer, and Barbara Partee, 451–486. Dordrecht: Kluwer. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kearns, Kate. 2007. Telic senses of deadjectival verbs. Lingua 117: 26–66. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kennedy, Chris. 1999. Projecting the adjective: The syntax and semantics of gradability and comparison. New York: Garland. Google Scholar
  35. Kennedy, Chris. 2012. The composition of incremental change. In Telicity, change and state: A cross-categorial view of event structure, eds. Violeta Demonte and Louise McNally, 103–121. Oxford: Oxford University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kennedy, Chris and Beth Levin. 2008. Measure of change: The adjectival core of degree achievements. In Adjectives and adverbs: Syntax, semantics and discourse, eds. Louise McNally and Chris Kennedy, 156–182. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
  37. Kennedy, Chris and Louise McNally. 2005. Scale structure, degree modification and the semantic typology of gradable predicates. Language 81: 345–381. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Koontz-Garboden, Andrew and John Beavers. 2012. Manner and result in the roots of verbal meaning. Linguistic Inquiry 43: 331–369. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Krifka, Manfred. 1989. Nominal reference, temporal constitution and quantification in event semantics. In Semantics and contextual expression, eds. Renate Barsch, Johan van Bentham, and Peter van Emda Boas, 75–115. Dordrecht: Foris. Google Scholar
  40. Krifka, Manfred. 1990. Four thousand ships passed through the lock: Object-induced measure functions on events. Linguistics and Philosophy 13: 487–520. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Krifka, Manfred. 1992. Thematic relations as links between nominal reference and temporal constitution. In Lexical matters, eds. Ivan Sag and Anna Szabolcsi, 29–54. Stanford: CSLI. Google Scholar
  42. Ladusaw, William. 1979. Polarity as inherent scope relations. PhD Thesis, University of Texas, Austin. Google Scholar
  43. Landman, Fred. 2000. Events and plurality: The Jerusalem lectures. Berlin: Springer. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Landman, Meredith. 2006. Variables in natural language. PhD Thesis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Google Scholar
  45. Landman, Meredith and Marcin Morzycki. 2003. Event kinds and the representation of manner. In Proceedings of WECOL 14, eds. Nancy Mae Antrim, Grant Goodall, Martha Schulte-Nafeh, and Vida Samiian, 136–147. Fresno: California State University. Google Scholar
  46. Lascarides, Alex and Nicholas Asher. 1993. Temporal interpretation, discourse relations and commonsense entailment. Linguistics and Philosophy 16: 437–493. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lechner, Winfried. 2001. Reduced and phrasal comparatives. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 19: 683–735. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lechner, Winfried. 2004. Ellipsis in comparatives. Berlin: de Gruyter. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lee-Goldman, Russell. 2012. Supplemental relative clauses: Internal and external syntax. Journal of Linguistics 48: 573–608. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Levin, Beth and Malka Rappaport-Hovav. 2013. Lexicalized meaning and manner/result complementarity. In Studies in the composition and decomposition of event predicates, eds. Boban Arsenijević, Berit Gehrke, and Rafael Marín, 49–70. Berlin: Springer. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. McCawley, John. 1988. The syntactic phenomena of English. Chicago: University of Chicago. Google Scholar
  52. McNally, Louise and Chris Kennedy. 2002. Degree vs. manner well: A case study in selective binding. In Cuadernos de lingüística IX: In memorium Ken Hale, ed. Maria Arche, 159–166. Instituto Universario Ortega y Gasset. Google Scholar
  53. Pancheva, Roumyana. 2006. Phrasal and clausal comparatives in Slavic. In FASL 14: The Princeton meeting, eds. J. Lavine, S. Franks, M. Tasseva-Kurkichieva, and H. Filip, 236–257. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Google Scholar
  54. Piñón, Christopher. 2000. Happening gradually. In Proceedings of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, eds. L. Conathan, J. Good, D. Kavitskaya, A. Wolf, and A. Yu. Vol. 26, 445–456. Berkeley: University of California. Google Scholar
  55. Piñón, Christopher. 2005. Adverbs of completion in an event semantics. In Perspectives on aspect, eds. H. Verkuyl, H. de Swart, and A. van Hout, 149–166. Berlin: Springer. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Piñón, Christopher. 2008. Aspectual composition with degrees. In Adjectives and adverbs: Syntax, semantics and discourse, eds. Louise McNally and Chris Kennedy, 183–219. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
  57. Potts, Chris. 2002a. The lexical semantics of parenthetical-as and appositive-which. Syntax 5: 55–88. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Potts, Chris. 2002b. The syntax and semantics of as-parentheticals. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 20: 623–689. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rappaport-Hovav, Malka. 2008. Lexicalized meaning and the internal temporal structure of events. In Theoretic and cross linguistic approaches to the semantics of aspect, ed. Susan Rothstein, 13–42. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Google Scholar
  60. Rappaport-Hovav, Malka and Beth Levin. 2010. Reflections on manner/result complementarity. In Syntax, lexical semantics and event structure, eds. E. Doron, M. Rappaport-Hovav, and I. Sichel, 21–38. Oxford: Oxford University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Rett, Jessica. 2006. How many maximizes in the Balkan sprachbund. In Proceedings of SALT XVI, eds. M. Gibson and J. Howell, 190–207. Ithaca: Cornell University. Google Scholar
  62. Rett, Jessica. 2007. Antonymy and evaluativity. In Proceedings of SALT XVII, eds. M. Gibson and T. Friedman, 210–227. Ithaca: Cornell University. Google Scholar
  63. Rett, Jessica. 2008. Degree modification in natural language. PhD Thesis, Rutgers University. Google Scholar
  64. Rett, Jessica. 2010. Equatives, MPs, and NPIs. In Logic, language and meaning: Proceedings of the 18th Amsterdam colloquium, eds. M. Aloni, H. Bastiaanse, T. de Jager, and K. Schulz, 364–373. Berlin: Springer. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rett, Jessica. 2013. Measure phrase equatives and modified numerals. Ms., UCLA. Google Scholar
  66. Rullmann, Hotze. 1995. Maximality in the semantics of wh-constructions. PhD Thesis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Google Scholar
  67. Schwarzschild, Roger. 2006. The role of dimensions in the syntax of noun phrases. Syntax 9: 67–110. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Schwarzschild, Roger. 2008. The semantics of the comparative and other degree constructions. Language and Linguistic Compass 2: 308–331. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Schwarzschild, Roger and Karina Wilkinson. 2002. Quantifiers in comparatives: A semantics of degree based on intervals. Natural Language Semantics 10: 1–41. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Seuren, Pieter. 1973. The comparative. In Generative grammar in Europe, eds. F. Keifer and N. Ruwet. Dordrecht: Reidel. Google Scholar
  71. Seuren, Pieter. 1984. The comparative revisited. Journal of Semantics 3: 109–141. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Solt, Stephanie. 2009. The semantics of adjectives of quantity. PhD Thesis, CUNY. Google Scholar
  73. Stassen, Leon. 1985. Comparison and universal grammar: An essay in universal grammar. Oxford: Blackwell. Google Scholar
  74. Stowell, Tim. 1987. As so, not so as. Ms., UCLA. Google Scholar
  75. Svenonius, Peter and Chris Kennedy. 2006. Northern Norwegian degree questions and the syntax of measurement. In Phases of interpretation, ed. Mara Frascarelli, 129–157. Berlin: de Gruyter. Google Scholar
  76. Tenny, Carol. 1994. Aspectual roles and the syntax-semantics interface. Dordrecht: Kluwer. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Tenny, Carol. 2000. Core events and adverbial modification. In Events as grammatical objects, eds. Carol Tenny and James Pustejovsky, 285–334. Chicago: CSLI Publications. Google Scholar
  78. Ultan, Russell. 1972. Some features of basic comparative constructions. Stanford Working Papers on Language Universals 9: 117–162. Google Scholar
  79. Umbach, Carla. 2011. Intensifiers and measure phrases combined with verbs. Ms., Heinrich-Heine Universität. Google Scholar
  80. van Schaaik, Gerjan. 1998. On the usage of gibe. In Proceedings of the 7th international conference on Turkish linguistics, ed. Gerjan van Schaaik, 422–457. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. Google Scholar
  81. Verkuyl, Henk. 1993. A Theory of Aspectuality: The interaction between temporal and atemporal structure. Cambridge: University of Cambridge. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. von Stechow, Arnim. 1984. Comparing semantic theories of comparison. Journal of Semantics 3: 1–77. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Williams, Evan. 1977. Discourse and logical form. Linguistic Inquiry 8: 101–139. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCLA LinguisticsLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations