Tipping the Scales: The Syntax of Scalarity in the Complement of SEEM

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Abstract

This paper argues for a syntactic and semantic distinction between the verb seem that takes propositional complements (i.e., CP and IP) and the verb seem that takes nonpropositional complements. The latter takes a smaller sized complement (in terms of the presence of functional structure), has a perceptual rather than epistemic interpretation, and imposes a scalarity–related restriction on its complement, which will be formalized as a selectional requirement of a DegP complement. The notion of scalarity, heretofore applicable only to adjectives, is extended to PPs, such as out of her mind, and nouns, such as fool. DegP is projected either if a predicate is scalar (has a degree argument slot) or to function as a landing site for QR of degree, which will be shown to function as the licensing mechanism for complements of seem

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