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Cognitive Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Newman, John

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Adjectives and boundedness

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics. Volume 12, Issue 1, Pages 47–65, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: 10.1515/cogl.12.1.47, March 2008

Publication History

Published Online:


This article examines the significance of the schematic domain of boundedness in adjectives. It is proposed that boundedness in adjectives is a fundamental characteristic associated with gradability. Cross-categorial correspondences are made to nouns and verbs, where boundedness is a feature of countability and aktionsart respectively. Two basic types of gradable adjectives are distinguished: those which are associated with a boundary and those which are not. It is also shown that it is possible to change the configuration of adjectives in terms of boundedness through contextual modulation. Finally, it is demonstrated that the configuration of adjectives in terms of boundaries may dominate their interpretation at the expense of the content proper, and the adjectives become more like function words than content words.

Keywords: adjective; boundedness; comparison; gradability; schematicity; construal

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