Adjective ordering restrictions: exploring relevant semantic notions for syntactic ordering
AffiliationUniversity of Southern California
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AbstractI propose that ordering restrictions among adjectives (e.g., the big gray poodle) are driven by the covert syntactic complexity of the adjectival projections. The more complex the projection containing the adjective, the higher in the structure it must merge. Intersective adjectives (gray) merge with the NP, and non-intersective adjectives (big) merge also with a covert for-PP that contains a copy of the NP. This differs from the usual approaches to adjective ordering, which turn to fine-grained semantic subclasses (e.g. height, length, color) or functional heads in the DP to explain adjective ordering restrictions.
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