Many of the ideas in this paper originated in research seminars at Rutgers. I am indebted to the participants in those seminars. The paper profited enormously from the opportunity to present this material to stimulating audiences at SALT XII, USC, UCLA, UConn, UPenn, Utrecht University, ZAS, University of Frankfurt, Northwestern University, and the University of Michigan. I cheerfully acknowledge the significant contribution of the audiences at those presentations and would like to express my thanks to Peter Ludlow and Jeff Pelletier, who prepared comments for the Michigan conference. The paper owes much to discussion with Ron Artstein, Adrian Brasoveanu, Ivano Caponigro, Mark Gawron, Chris Kennedy, Bob Matthews, Cécile Meier, Kimiko Nakanishi, David Nicolas, Ken Safir, Barry Schein, Karina Wilkinson, and Ewa Willim. I am especially grateful to Jane Grimshaw for extensive and enjoyable discussion of the issues addressed here and to Chris Kennedy, Roberto Zamparelli, and two anonymous reviewers for their illuminating written comments.
The Role of Dimensions in the Syntax of Noun Phrases
Version of Record online: 22 JUN 2006
Volume 9, Issue 1, pages 67–110, April 2006
How to Cite
Schwarzschild, R. (2006), The Role of Dimensions in the Syntax of Noun Phrases. Syntax, 9: 67–110. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9612.2006.00083.x
- Issue online: 22 JUN 2006
- Version of Record online: 22 JUN 2006
Abstract. An extended noun phrase may contain an expression that describes some dimension. Weight is described by each of the prenominal expressions in heavy rock, too much ballast, 2 pound rock, 2 pounds of rocks. The central claim of this paper is that the position of these types of expressions within the noun phrase limits the kinds of dimensions they may describe. The limitations have to do with whether or not the dimension tracks relevant part-whole relations. An analogy is made between these constraints and the well-known constraints on thematic relations that are incurred by the position of a noun phrase in a clause. A proposal is made about the meanings of expressions like too much and 2 pounds which explains their common cross-categorial distribution and this informs the analysis of their use in noun phrases. A position is taken on the meaning of the count mass distinction which, in conjunction with the hypothesis about dimensions, explains asymmetries in the distribution of prenominal adjectives with count and mass nouns.