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      Adjectives relate individuals to states: Evidence from the two readings of English Determiner + Adjective

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      Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
      Ubiquity Press
      nominalizations, adjectives, states, lexical semantics

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          Abstract

          As an argument in favor of the (minority) view that adjectives involve a neo-Davidsonian state argument, I argue that it grounds an analysis of the English Determiner + Adjective construction ( the old). On its “individuated” reading ( the old are generally happier), this construction seems to refer to old individuals; on its “mass” reading ( the old is never ordinary), to something like oldness. Empirically, this paper uses naturally-occurring data to show that both readings are more productive than sometimes suggested. Theoretically, the two readings are parsimoniously derived by existentially closing off one or the other of the two arguments (the individual argument x, the state argument s) made available by the state analysis – λxλs[ old( s) ∧ holder( x,s)] – deriving a predicate of individuals for the individuated reading, and a predicate of states for the mass reading. This account of Determiner + Adjective further reflects the philosophical idea that properties can be construed as predicates of individuals or as the abstract thing that those individuals share; and connects to other ways of nominalizing both verb phrases and adjectives.

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          Thematic proto-roles and argument selection

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            Reference to kinds across language

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              Phrase structure and the lexicon

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2397-1835
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Ubiquity Press
                2397-1835
                05 February 2019
                2019
                : 4
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Modern Languages, Georgia Institute of Technology, 613 Cherry Street NW, Atlanta, GA, US
                Article
                10.5334/gjgl.552
                580805ff-6c1e-46de-99d4-d16a6cef08b6
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Categories
                Research

                General linguistics,Linguistics & Semiotics
                states,lexical semantics,adjectives,nominalizations
                General linguistics, Linguistics & Semiotics
                states, lexical semantics, adjectives, nominalizations

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