Thomas Stolz, Nataliya Levkovych, Carolin Ahrens
June 6, 2018
Maltese gives evidence of a certain degree of permeability of word-class categories in the sense that finite (intransitive) verbs in the 3rd person imperfective of both genders and numbers may function as NP-internal attributes and thus behave like adjectives, albeit only to a limited extent. The focus is on a small selection of those verbs which are typical representatives of the attributive functions of imperfectives. It is shown that in attribution members of this class of verbs undergo decategorialization, i.e. they lose typical properties of their original word class. In this context, the relation of pseudo-adjectival verbs, relative clauses, and bona fide adjectives is discussed in some detail. It is argued that pseudo-adjectival verbs are similar to active participles, which they replace in the case of the majority of the Maltese verbs which lack the ability of deriving active participles morphologically.