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Non-Verbal Predication : Copular Sentences at the Syntax-Semantics Interface

ISBN: 9780199543557 | 0199543550
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Pub. Date: 6/10/2013

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This book considers the syntax and semantics of non-verbal predicates (i.e., nominal, adjectival and prepositional predicates) in copular sentences. Isabelle Roy explores how a single structure for predication can account for the different interpretations of non-verbal predicates. The book departs from earlier studies by arguing in favor of a ternary distinction between defining / characterizing / situation-descriptive predicates rather than the more common stage-level/individualdistinction. The distinction is based on two semantic criteria, namely maximality (i.e., whether the predicate describes an eventuality that has spatio-temporal properties or not) and density (i.e. whether the spatio-temporal properties are perceived as atomic or not). The author argues in favor of astrong correlation between the semantics properties of predicates and their internal syntactic structure. Her analysis accounts for seemingly unrelated cross-linguistic data: the indefinite article in French, the distribution of the two copulas 'ser'/'estar' in Spanish, and case marking on Russian predicates.


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