(In)flexibility in Adjective Ordering
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The present thesis investigates adjective ordering across languages, with an emphasis on Greek and Cypriot Maronite Arabic (CMA). Cross-linguistically, attributive adjectives are argued to be ordered according to their semantic class (Hetzron 1978; Dixon 1982; Cinque 1994, 2010, among others). Given that the orders attested cross-linguistically are very similar, it is claimed that all orders have the same underlying order, which is imposed by syntax as in Cinque 2010. If adjective ordering restrictions are indeed syntactic, the question that arises is how to account for violations of the order. I defend the view that the order can be affected by various factors. Following Sproat and Shih (1991) and Cinque (2010), I assume that there is an indirect vs. direct distinction in adjectival modification, and I claim that Greek polydefinites are an instance of the former, whereby the adjective merges inside a Reduced Relative Clause – a PredP as in Bhatt 2000. The additional definite article is not a true article, but the realisation of Pred0. Moreover, I argue that adjective ordering phenomena give us an insight into whether adjectives modify the noun as heads or phrases. The claim is that both are necessary; adjectives that are structurally closer to the noun combine with it as heads, while structurally higher adjectives, e.g. adjectives with complements or adjectives that have a predicative source, are phrasal-modifiers. The ability of adjectives to have access to both types of modification also leads to apparent violations of the order. Finally, I discuss new data from CMA, which allows both prenominal and postnominal adjectives. Adjectives borrowed from Greek are found in either position, while native Arabic adjectives are strongly preferred postnominally. I argue that adjective ordering and placement is inflexible in CMA, and that the facts follow by the need of phrases in the extended nominal projection to inherit a nominal feature.
- Theses