Genitives, relational nouns, and the argument-modifier distinction

  • The argument-modifier distinction is less clear in NPs than in VPs; nouns do not typically take arguments. The clearest cases of arguments in NPs are in certain kinds of nominalizations which retain some "verbal" properties (Grimshaw 1990). The status of apparent arguments of non-deverbal relational nouns like sister is more controversial. Genitive constructions like 'John's teacher', 'team of John's' offer a challenging testing ground for the argument-modifier distinction in NPs, both in English and cross-linguistically. On the analyses of Partee (1983/97) and Barker (1995), the DP in a genitive phrase (i.e. 'John' in 'John's') is always an argument of some relation, but the relation does not always come from the head noun. On those "ambiguity" analyses, some genitives are argument-like and some are modifier-like. Recent proposals by Jensen and Vikner and by Borschev and Partee analyze all genitives as argument-like, a conclusion we are no longer sure of. In this paper we explore a range of possible analyses: argument-only, modifier-only, and ambiguity analyses, and consider the kinds of semantic evidence that suggest that different analyses may be correct for different genitive or possessive constructions in different languages.

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Author:Barbara H. Partee, Vladimir Borschev
Parent Title (English):Approaching the grammar of adjuncts : proceedings of the Oslo conference, September 22-25, 1999, Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung, Berlin, 1999; ZAS papers in linguistics Vol. 17
Publisher:Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung
Place of publication:Berlin
Document Type:Part of a Book
Date of Publication (online):2013/11/14
Year of first Publication:2000
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2013/11/14
GND Keyword:Modifikation <Linguistik>; Modifikator; Argument <Linguistik>; Genitiv; Bezug / Linguistik
Page Number:25
First Page:177
Last Page:201
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 41 Linguistik / 410 Linguistik
Linguistik-Klassifikation:Linguistik-Klassifikation: Sprachtypologie / Language typology
Linguistik-Klassifikation: Semantik / Semantics
Linguistik-Klassifikation: Kontrastive Linguistik / Contrastive linguistics
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:ZAS papers in linguistics : ZASPiL / ZASPiL 17 = Approaching the grammar of adjuncts : Proceedings of the Oslo Conference
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht