Lutz Gunkel, Gisela Zifonun
March 15, 2014
In English and French relational adjectives occurring in construction with deverbal nominalizations can be thematically associated with subject as well as object ar-guments. By contrast, in German object-related readings of relational adjectives seem to be inadmissible. The greater flexibility of English and French in terms of the thematic interpretability of relational adjectives also shows up with respect to ‘circumstantial’ thematic roles like directionals, locatives and instrumentals. It is arguably due to the common Latin heritage of English and French, since in Latin relational adjectives repre-senting subject or object arguments of nominalizations are widely attested. However, even in English and French object-related readings are confined to result nominalizations, a restriction we suggest to account for in terms of the more ‘noun-like’ character of result nominalizations in contrast to process nominalizations. Moreover, since argument-related interpretations of relational adjectives can always be overridden by appropriate agentive/patientive phrases, relational adjectives cannot be analyzed as occupying an ar-gument position, but rather as modifying the semantic role associated with it.