Adjectival and Genitival Modification in Definite Noun Phrases in Icelandic - A Tale of Outsiders and Inside Jobs
AuthorPfaff, Alexander Peter
Icelandic provides substantial diversity of modification patterns in definite noun phrases not found in other languages. This thesis takes a closer look at that diversity and argues that various (morpho-) syntactic and semantic aspects of adjectival modification can be used as diagnostics for a layered noun phrase structure. I propose that the noun phrase structure can be segmented into four distinct zones where each zone defines a distinct entity (i.e. the denotation of a nominal projection is a function of the size of that projection). Once established, a zonal structure allows us to considerably simplify the semantics of adjectival modification in that it is not necessary to assume different kinds of adjectives. Rather the interpretation of the adjective is dependent on the zone in which it is merged, and thus on the entity it modifies. Following a proposal by Adger (2013), I develop an analysis of DP-genitives that allows us to account for an Icelandic-specific problem (genitive stranding), but moreover, allows us to abolish the distinction common vs. relational noun (and concomitantly, genitive modifier vs. argumental genitive). This traditional distinction can be simulated by the structure containing the genitival being merged in different positions in the nominal structures, i.e. in different zones. This means that genitival modification is also a matter of being merged in a certain zone. This insight opens the prospect that adjectival and genitival modification can be simplified and unified to a considerable extent.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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