Classifier Phrase as Host for Stage-Level Spanish Adnominal Participial Adjectives

  • Karen ZagonaEmail author
  • Heles Contreras
Part of the Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory book series (SNLT, volume 95)


This paper argues for a Classifier Phrase (CLP) as a functional layer in the Spanish DP. CLP has been proposed independently for other languages as the locus of individuation in nominals, making countable entities from masses. It has also been suggested as a host for dimensional modifiers (Svenonius 2008). We provide evidence that certain participial adjectives in Spanish are licensed as dimensional modifiers. These adjectives are exceptional in that they encode verbal (inchoative) aspect. This feature is shown to play a crucial role in the distribution of these adjectives. Our account of this generalization adopts the aspectual feature [BOUNDARY] of Marín and McNally (2011). Our analysis is that this feature provides a (temporal) value for dimensionality, thereby exceptionally licensing a stage-level reading. We further show that an account along the lines of Larson (1998), Larson and Takahashi (2007), based on a distinction between NP-layer and DP-layer modification, is not viable for the data under consideration.


Classifier phrase Participial adjectives Adnominal adjectives Aspect Phrase Inchoative adjectives Perfective adjectives [BOUNDARY] feature Stage-level adjectives 



We dedicate this to our friend and colleague Julia Herschensohn, who has for decades been an integral part of our life in linguistics, and to whom much is owed for her intellectual, cultural and culinary nourishment of UW students and colleagues alike. Gracias and merci, Julia. We are grateful to Barbara Citko and to members of the UW Syntax Roundtable for comments on a presentation of a preliminary version of this work. We also thank an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments. All remaining errors of commission and omission are the authors’ sole responsibility.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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