Advertisement

Degree Modifiers and Monotonicity

  • Rick Nouwen
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Pragmatics, Language and Cognition book series (PSPLC)

Abstract

In a short squib, Zwicky (1970) wonders what could explain the assignment of certain adverbial functions.1 He observes that there exist pairs of expressions where the positive of the pair is a sentence adverbial, while the negative one is a degree modifier. For instance, unusually in (1) is a degree adverbial. That is, the example expresses that the children are noisy to a degree that is unusual. No such similar reading is available if we replace unusually with its positive counterpart usually. The example in (2) is instead interpreted as saying that it is usual for the children to be noisy.

Keywords

Gradable Adjective Markedness Generalization Negative Polarity Item Sentence Modifier Degree Modifier 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Beck, S. (2009). Comparison constructions. In Maienborn, C., von Heusinger, K. and Portner, P. (eds), Semantics: an International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin. Publication in preparation.Google Scholar
  2. Cresswell, M. (1976). The semantics of degree. In Partee, B. (ed.), Montague Grammar, pp. 261–92. Academic Press.Google Scholar
  3. Doetjes, J., Constantinescu, C. and Součková, K. (2008). A neo-Kleinian approach to comparatives. In Ito, S. and Cormany, E. (eds), Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory XIX. Ithaca, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Fox, D. and Hackl, M. (2006). The universal density of measurement. Linguistics and Philosophy, 29(5): 537–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gajewski, J. (2002). L-Analyticity in Natural Language. MIT.Google Scholar
  6. Geurts, B. (2010). Goodness. In Aloni, M., Bastiaanse, H., de Jager, T., van Ormondt, P. and Schulz, K. (eds), Proceedings of the 17th Amsterdam Colloquium, pp. 277–85.Google Scholar
  7. Heim, I. (2000). Degree operators and scope. In Proceedings of SALT 10. CLC Publications, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  8. Kadmon, N. and Landman, F. (1993). Any. Linguistics and Philosophy, 16: 353–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Katz, G. (2005). Attitudes toward degrees. In Maier, E., Bary, C. and Huitink, J. (eds), Proceedings of SuB 9. Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.Google Scholar
  10. Klein, E. (1980). A semantics for positive and comparative adjectives. Linguistics and Philosophy, 4: 1–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McCready, E. (2009). What man does. Linguistics and Philosophy, 31(6): 671–724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Morzycki, M. (2008). Adverbial modification of adjectives: evaluatives and a little beyond. In Dölliing, J. and Heyde-Zybatow, T. (eds), Event Structures in Linguistic Form and Interpretation. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin.Google Scholar
  13. Morzycki, M. (2009). Degree modification of gradable nouns: size adjectives and adnominal degree morphemes. Natural Language Semantics, 17(2): 175–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Nouwen, R. (2005). Monotone amazement. In Dekker, P. and Franke, M. (eds), pp. 167–72. Proceedings of the Fifteenth Amsterdam Colloquium. ILLC.Google Scholar
  15. Sanford, A., Dawydiak, E. and Moxey, L. (2007). A unified account of quantifier perspective effects in discourse. Discourse Processes, 44(1): 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. von Fintel, K. (1999). NPI licensing, Strawson entailment, and context dependency. Journal of Semantics, 16(2): 97–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. von Stechow, A. (1984). Comparing semantic theories of comparison. Journal of Semantics, 3: 1–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Zanuttini, R. and Portner, P. (2003). Exclamative clauses: at the syntax–semantics interface. Language, 79(1): 39–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Zwicky, A. (1970). Usually and unusually. Linguistic Inquiry, 1(1): 145.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Rick Nouwen 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rick Nouwen

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations