An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences
Editor-in-Chief: van der Auwera, Johan
6 Issues per year
IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.378
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.897
CiteScore 2016: 0.50
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.496
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 1.099
“Discontinuous” APs are problematic. Under P&P/minimalist assumptions, they cannot be initial structures and must result via MOVE, but MOVE should be motivated, and what the triggering feature might be is unclear, for “AP-splitting” is optional in some cases and impossible in most. This article examines why it occurs in English. Section 1 discusses the facts and what grammarians have said about them. Section 2 reviews current wisdom on adjectival modfication and considers possible approaches to discontinuity via A(P)-raising and extraposition, but shows that neither is wellmotivated nor can explain why “AP-splitting” is not generally available, which suggests still unidentified constraints. Section 3 adopts a theory of modification that bans prenominal right-branching APs, eliminates the extraposition option, and derives genuine cases of AP-splitting through A-raising from postnominal APs. A-raising is assumed to occur to prevent the adjective from inheriting focus narrowly associated with its complement, but is allowed only within unaccusative APs. Most AP “discontinuities,” therefore, cannot involve A-raising, but the theory allows them to be basegenerated when the postnominal PP/CP is a modifier and the adjective is allowed prenominally. Adjectives denoting individual-level properties are, and are predicted to occur in “discontinuous” APs, but those denoting stage-level properties are not. These predictions are confirmed on the whole, but the evidence is murky due to divided usage. Section 4 sorts out dubious cases and claims that they arise from the fuzziness of the complement/modifier and the individual-level/stage-level distinctions, and from alternative construals of the postnominal XP as a modifier of the noun or higher categories. Finally, Section 5 briefly summarizes the results and the advantages of the present approach.
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