Linguistics Modification
by
Sebastian Bücking
  • LAST REVIEWED: 19 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 June 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0095

Introduction

This article assembles sources that are concerned with modification as a combinatorial semantic operation—in, for example, green box, the attributive adjective green modifies the nominal box and thus constrains the range of potential referents of the complex expression to boxes that are green; similarly, in Martha read a book in the garden, the adverbial in the garden modifies the reading situation by locating it. Notably, modifiers can have fairly fundamental effects; in fake book, the attribute fake induces that the complex expression singles out objects that seem to be books, but are not. Intuitively, modifiers contribute additional information that is not explicitly called for by the target the modifier relates to. Speaking in terms of logic, this roughly says that modification does not change the arity, or logical type, of the modified target constituent. Speaking in terms of syntax, this predicts that modifiers are typically adjuncts and thus do not change the syntactic distribution of their respective target; therefore, modifiers can be easily iterated (see, e.g., big green box or Martha read a book in the garden yesterday). This initial characterization sets modification apart from other combinatorial operations such as argument satisfaction and quantification: combining a book with read satisfies an argument slot of the verbal head and thus reduces its arity (see, e.g., *read a book a journal). Quantification as, for example, in the combination of the quantifier every with the noun box, maps a nominal property onto a quantifying expression with a different distribution (see, e.g., *a every box). Their comparatively loose connection to their hosts renders modifiers a flexible, though certainly not random, means within combinatorial meaning constitution. Therefore research on modification pays particular attention to questions such as the following: how do structural conditions and the modifying function conspire in establishing complex interpretations? What roles do ontological information and fine-grained conceptual knowledge play in the course of concept combination? The sources in the present article shed light on these and related topics.

Textbooks

At the moment, there is no published textbook available that is dedicated primarily to modification. However, the following well-known introductions to formal semantics include chapters on modification. These chapters are in principle accessible to a wide audience; however, they are not self-contained, but require familiarity with the technical apparatus they are embedded in. Dowty, et al. 1981 and Gamut 1991 closely follow the Montague grammar paradigm according to which natural language expressions are mapped onto a context-invariant interpretation formulated in terms of intensional logic. Heim and Kratzer 1998 and Chierchia and McConnell-Ginet 2000 are in spirit similar, but provide technically lighter, modernized versions.

  • Chierchia, Gennaro, and Sally McConnell-Ginet. 2000. Meaning and grammar. An introduction to semantics. 2d ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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    Chapter 8.3 introduces modification by adjectives and adverbs and motivates first steps toward an event semantic treatment of Adverbal Modification. Chapter 7.4 is devoted to the basics of relative clause interpretation.

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    • Dowty, David R., Robert Wall, and Stanley Peters. 1981. Introduction to Montague semantics. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: D. Reidel.

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      Chapters 7.4 and 7.6 describe how relative clauses and adverbials are treated within Montague grammar. (A selection of Richard Montague’s foundational papers can be found in Richmond H. Thomason. 1974. Formal philosophy. Selected papers of Richard Montague. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.) An annotated bibliography in chapter 9 refers to early publications that are concerned with relative clauses, adverbs, and adjectives from the perspective of Montague grammar.

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      • Gamut, L. T. F. 1991. Logic, language, and meaning. Vol. 2, Intensional logic and logical grammar. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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        Chapter 6.3.11 includes a brief introduction to modification by adjectives, relative clauses, and adverbs within Montague grammar. The textbook includes exercises for which, in some cases, solutions are provided.

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        • Heim, Irene and Angelika Kratzer. 1998. Semantics in generative grammar. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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          Includes parts on modification by adjectives and relative clauses (see chapters 4.3 and 5); shows in great detail, how, within formal semantics, arguments for specific formal analyses are pondered. The rule for predicate modification that the work develops is a standard reference within contemporary research on modification.

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          Anthologies

          Both Lang, et al. 2003 and McNally and Kennedy 2008 are fine collections of sources that focus, from a wide range of perspectives, on modification. Each book contains an informative introduction to the topic; several of the assembled papers are cited in the thematic subsections of this bibliography.

          • Lang, Ewald, Claudia Maienborn, and Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen, eds. 2003. Modifying adjuncts. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

            DOI: 10.1515/9783110894646Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            Valuable collection of case studies on modification; special attention is paid to semantics and its interfaces to syntax and pragmatics. The introduction states clearly which challenges are addressed; the arrangement into the following four parts provides orientation: (i) Argument-adjunct distinction; (ii) Adjunct placement; (iii) Case studies on wieder/again; (iv) Flexibility of eventuality-related modification.

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            • McNally, Louise, and Christopher Kennedy, eds. 2008. Adjectives and adverbs. Syntax, semantics, and discourse. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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              Comprises stimulating case studies on modification by, and in relation to, adjectives and adverbs. The individual chapters have in common a primarily semantic perspective; important issues addressed are: the compositionality of modifying relations, the role of lexical information contributed by modified and/or modifying expressions, and the effects modifiers may have on discourse structures.

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              Defining Modification

              This section assembles contemporary sources that contribute to the definition of modification from a primarily semantic perspective. It does not dwell on the historical development; predecessors are assembled in the sections Logical Tradition and Foundational Theoretical Perspectives. The debate among syntacticians on whether modifiers should be treated as adjuncts or as specifiers is taken up in section Verbal Domain. Heim and Kratzer 1998, cited under Textbooks, define predicate modification in terms of a conjunction of two predicates assigned to the very same variable; this definition is a standard reference within the formal semantics tradition. Higginbotham 1985 makes a theta-theoretic proposal that is in its effect similar. A structure-sensitive refinement is proposed in Maienborn 2003: if a modifier targets a full phrase, her template MOD* leads to the usual conjunction of predicates; in other environments, it opens up mediation by conceptual knowledge. The effects of compositionality and conceptual knowledge play a crucial role also in Kamp and Partee 1995. They point out that modification is often noncommutative and thus in conflict with the suggested simple conjunction analysis; notably, the head modified usually retains its primary role. Based on typological research, Chung and Ladusaw 2006 draw very similar conclusions about different forms of modifying operations. The works mentioned so far focus on formal properties of modification, largely presupposing that the relevant constituents are in fact modifiers. Goldberg and Ackerman 2001 and Dowty 2003 take a different route: from, respectively, the viewpoint of categorial grammar and constructional (in)variability, they are concerned with the difficult task of how to distinguish modifiers from arguments. Detailed case studies on whether genitive noun phrases contribute modifiers or arguments are cited in Inflection, Adverbials, and Relative Clauses. For the difference between modification and quantification see, for example, de Swart 1993, cited under Adverbs of Quantification.

              • Chung, Sandra, and William A. Ladusaw. 2006. Chamorro evidence for compositional asymmetry. Natural Language Semantics 14.4: 325–357.

                DOI: 10.1007/s11050-007-9007-xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                Defines two nonsaturating operations that combine properties: Restrict for combining predicates with properties introduced by indefinites, Modify for predicate modification. Both operations are inherently asymmetric; this contrasts with definitions of modification based on commutative intersection. Adduces evidence from the Austronesian language Chamorro, but also relates the discussion to English.

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                • Dowty, David. 2003. The dual analysis of adjuncts/complements in Categorial Grammar. In Modifying adjuncts. Edited by Ewald Lang, Claudia Maienborn, and Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen, 33–66. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                  Defines modifiers (adjuncts) as opposed to arguments (complements) via categorial grammar. Expounds problems a clear-cut distinction raises for numerous constructions (e.g., by-phrases in passives and locative vs. dative to). Advocates a dual analysis of complements as adjuncts and vice versa; links the proposal to theories of language change, acquisition, and processing.

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                  • Goldberg, Adele E., and Farrell Ackerman. 2001. The pragmatics of obligatory adjuncts. Language 77.4: 798–814.

                    DOI: 10.1353/lan.2001.0219Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Contributes to the discussion of how the distinction between modifiers and arguments is linked to their being realized (non-)obligatorily. Argues that pragmatic principles, notably the requirement to be informative, predict the distribution of obligatory modifiers as observed in short passives, middles, cognate object expressions, and attributes.

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                    • Higginbotham, James. 1985. On semantics. Linguistic Inquiry 16.4: 547–593.

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                      Section 3 approaches modification within a general theory of thematic information and its projection. Introduces theta-identification as a way to discharge thematic positions, yielding similar results as, for example, predicate modification (see Heim and Kratzer 1998, cited under Textbooks). Suggests (the combination with) operations such as theta-marking in order to capture the semantics of nonintersective adjectives (see Logical Tradition).

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                      • Kamp, Hans, and Barbara H. Partee. 1995. Prototype theory and compositionality. Cognition 57.2: 121–191.

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                        Foundational for a cognitive theory of concept combination (including modification); although taking a formal semantics perspective, this article pleads for a multifaceted analysis within cognitive science. Argues for supervaluation analyses of complex concepts, (see Kamp 1975, cited under Logical Tradition); addresses how prototypicality and (non)linguistic context influence concept formation and reinterpretation (see as well Meaning Adaptations).

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                        • Maienborn, Claudia. 2003. Event-internal modifiers: Semantic underspecification and conceptual interpretation. In Modifying adjuncts. Edited by Ewald Lang, Claudia Maienborn, and Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen, 475–509. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                          Defines a structure-sensitive modification template MOD*: modifiers to phrases are interpreted intersectively, while modifiers to heads relate to an underspecified variable that is integrally related to the head. The proposal refines the Davidsonian approach to Adverbal Modification and accounts for the flexibile interpretation of locatives in well-defined structural environments (see as well Foundational Theoretical Perspectives and Maienborn 2001, cited under Participant-Oriented Adverbials).

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                          Adnominal Modification

                          Traditionally, modifiers are subdivided according to morpho-syntactic criteria (e.g., their syntactic distribution and function). This section takes up adnominal modification (see, for its traditional counterparts, the sections Degree Modification and Adverbal Modification); special attention is paid to adjectives since they represent the most typical part of speech that modifies nouns. The following sources are not primarily concerned with modification as a specific function, but with adjectives as a grammatical class; however, modification, both independently from and in comparison to other functions (such as predication) plays a crucial role in the discussion. Kennedy 2012 and Demonte 2011 represent up-to-date overviews of the semantics of adjectives by leading experts in the field; the former is a brief, but informative and pleasingly written introduction to the subject matter, the latter is broader in coverage. Dixon and Aikhenvald 2004 provides a comprehensive survey of adjectives from a typological perspective; it is a top address for those who are interested in succinct descriptive information about adjective grammar in various languages. Baker 2003, sharing with Dixon and Aikhenvald 2004 the cross-linguistic viewpoint, is cited very often for its general ideas on the foundational characteristics of the basic grammatical categories of verb, noun, and adjective; notably, modification here plays a role in not being considered a defining trait of adjectives.

                          • Baker, Mark C. 2003. Lexical categories: Verbs, nouns, and adjectives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                            In search of cross-linguistic syntactic definitions of what nouns, verbs, and adjectives basically are, argues for defining adjectives (and adverbs) as being neither nominal nor verbal; that is, they neither bear a referential index nor take a specifier. Opposes prominent alternative definitions that consider adjectives prototypical modifiers or gradable predicates.

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                            • Demonte, Violeta. 2011. Adjectives. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning. Vol. 2. Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn, and Paul Portner, 1314–1340. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                              Overview of adjectives and adjective classifications. Briefly reviews the traditional entailment-based typology of adjectives in terms of (non-)intersectivity (see Intersective, Subsective, and Non-Subsective Adjectives discussed under Logical Tradition); introduces in more detail approaches to gradability and vagueness, including remarks on Degree Modification. Concludes by calling attention to subtypes such as color, relational, modal, manner, and (in)frequency adjectives (see Individual Adjective Classes).

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                              • Dixon, Robert M. W., and Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, eds. 2004. Adjective classes: A cross-linguistic typology. Explorations in Linguistic Typology 1. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                Useful overview of adjectives from a typological perspective. The case studies cover a wide spectrum of languages: a detailed introductory chapter (pp. 1–50, setting the stage with regard to terminology, main topics, and theses) and a succinct conclusion provide useful guidance. The role of adjectives as modifiers is one of the recurrent themes.

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                                • Kennedy, Christopher. 2012. Adjectives. In The Routledge companion to philosophy of language. Edited by Gillian Russell and Delia Graff Fara, 328–341. New York: Routledge.

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                                  Brief and easily comprehensible introduction to the grammar of adjectives. Highlights the role that discussions of adjectival meanings play within the philosophy of mind and language; concepts touched upon are vagueness, compositionality, and the assessment of truth.

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                                  The Logical Tradition

                                  Characteristic entailment patterns give rise to the division of adjectives into intersective (e.g., grey), subsective (e.g., small), and nonsubsective (e.g., former) modifiers. Partee 1995 takes an overview of this seminal logical tradition in a very comprehensible and detailed way. Bolinger 1967 is a much-cited predecessor of this line of thought; while informal, it makes important and stimulating observations about adjectival distribution and interpretation. Kamp 1975 is famous for scrutinizing two logically inspired analyses of adjectives and proposing, based on observations about the dynamics of contextual information, a supervaluation account of vague predicates. Siegel 1980 can be considered the most influential early monograph on the topic; it develops the logical viewpoint into a theory of the syntax-semantics interface of adjectives. The case studies Larson 1998 and Partee 2010 both question whether the classification of an adjective as a specific logical type withstands closer scrutiny. In particular, Larson’s work has been influential for research on modification: it asks whether a complex meaning representation of a modifier’s target, combined with an elaborate syntax-semantics mapping, allows for simplifying the modifying relation as such.

                                  • Bolinger, Dwight. 1967. Adjectives in English: Attribution and predication. Lingua 18.1–2: 1–34.

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                                    Seminal paper on adjectival semantics; argues against a transformational analysis of attributive adjectives by highlighting considerable distinctions between post/prenominal attributive and predicative uses. Famous for correlating (non-)temporary reading and position (the navigable river vs. the river navigable) and for distinguishing referent- vs. reference-modification, echoed by contrasting intersective and nonintersective modification.

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                                    • Kamp, Hans. 1975. Two theories about adjectives. In Formal semantics of natural languages: Papers from a colloquium sponsored by the King’s College Research Centre, Cambridge, 1973. Edited by Edward L. Keenan, 123–155. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                      Ponders two theories of adjectives: their analysis in terms of functions from properties to properties versus one in terms of simple predicates. Renowned for presenting a supervaluation approach to vagueness and for highlighting the crucial role contextual factors play in determining the meaning contribution by adjectives.

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                                      • Larson, Richard. 1998. Events and modification in nominals. In Proceedings of SALT 8. Papers read at the 8th Semantics and Linguistic Theory Conference, held 8–10 May, 1998, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Edited by Devon Strolovitch and Aaron Lawson, 145–168. Ithaca, NY: CLC.

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                                        Much-cited paper that defends the following key innovation: through the assumption that nouns may involve a complex internal structure including a verbal event argument, putatively nonintersective modifiers (e.g., beautiful dancer) are recast in terms of simple event predication. Raises a range of follow-up questions that concern inter alia the syntax-semantics interface and event quantification.

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                                        • Partee, Barbara H. 1995. Lexical semantics and compositionality. In An invitation to cognitive science. Vol. 1, Language. 2d ed. Edited by Lila Gleitman and Mark Liberman, 311–360. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                          Informal introduction to formal semantics; particularly helpful for students interested in the role of formal semantics within cognitive science. Addresses—mostly with regard to adjectives, their meaning, and their logical type—the following key issues: compositionality, vagueness, context-dependence, meaning postulates, and meaning shifts. Provides exercises (with solutions), and suggests further readings.

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                                          • Partee, Barbara H. 2010. Privative adjectives: Subsective plus coercion. In Presuppositions and discourse: Essays offered to Hans Kamp. Edited by Rainer Bäuerle, Uwe Reyle, and Thomas Ede Zimmermann, 273–285. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

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                                            Argues that privative adjectives (e.g., fake) are in fact subsective ones that come along with a coerced expansion of the head noun’s denotation; considers English and Polish NP-split data. In spirit similar to the formal account of coercion phenomena as, for example, in Asher 2011, cited under Meaning Adaptations.

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                                            • Siegel, Muffy E. 1980. Capturing the adjective. New York: Garland.

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                                              Extensive argument in favor of distinguishing two syntactic-semantic adjective categories: nonintersective adjectives interpreted relative to nouns versus intersective absolute ones. Notably, argues for an intersective analysis of vague adjectives such as tall (see Kamp 1975). The proposal is spelled out within Montague grammar; the data adduced are from Russian, English, and Ngamambo.

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                                              Individual Adjective Classes

                                              Adjectives may be classified according to their inherent semantic properties; this section assembles sources that adopt this perspective and evolve from it generalizations about the grammar of adjectives and their role as modifiers. McNally and Boleda 2004 are concerned with relational adjectives (e.g., technical), pondering their analysis in terms of intersective modification. Frequency adjectives (e.g., occasional) exhibit multiple ambiguities and are therefore a particularly challenging test case (see Adverbs of Quantification for their adverbial counterparts). While Stump 1981 and Zimmermann 2003 argue for syntactic variation (see as well Larson 1998, cited under Logical Tradition), Gehrke and McNally 2011 propose a unified account. Color adjectives, adjectives of personal taste, and dimensional adjectives figure prominently in contemporary debates about adjective semantics as well. In contradistinction to discussions of relational and frequency adjectives, these take as their starting point predicative uses and are thus not focused on modification in its own right; however, the issues addressed (e.g., compositionality, vagueness, context-dependence) bear indirectly on respective questions. See for opposing views on the semantics and pragmatics of color adjectives Travis 1997 and Kennedy and McNally 2010. The recent collection Shapiro 2013 brings together leading experts on issues related to subjective meaning as expressed by, for example, adjectives of personal taste. Bierwisch and Lang 1989 is a well-respected early anthology on dimensional adjectives in German.

                                              • Bierwisch, Manfred, and Ewald Lang, eds. 1989. Dimensional adjectives: Grammatical structure and conceptual interpretation. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

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                                                English translation of parts of Grammatische und konzeptuelle Aspekte von Dimensionsadjektiven, first published in 1987 (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag). Assembles works on dimensional adjectives; particularly aims at illuminating the interaction between aspects of meaning bound to grammar proper and aspects of meaning belonging to extralinguistic conceptual knowledge. The contributions cover inter alia the form and interpretation of gradation structures and spatial expressions (see Degree Modification for further sources).

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                                                • Gehrke, Berit, and Louise McNally. 2011. Frequency adjectives and assertions about event types. In Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 19. Edited by Ed Cormany, Satoshi Ito, and David Lutz, 180–197.

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                                                  Treats frequency adjectives as modifiers of event kinds that impose realization conditions; aims at a unified semantics for both adverbial and generic readings. This surface-oriented approach opposes the analyses by Stump 1981 and Zimmermann 2003 that derive the adverbial reading by treating the adjective as (part of) a determiner.

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                                                  • Kennedy, Christopher, and Louise McNally. 2010. Color, context, and compositionality. Synthese 174.1: 79–98.

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                                                    Argues that color terms in English are ambigious between a nongradable classificatory interpretation (the color is correlated with a contextually determined property) and a gradable interpretation based on color quantity or quality. Counters the argument in Travis 1997 that the varying truth conditions color adjectives give rise to severely question compositional principles.

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                                                    • McNally, Louise, and Gemma Boleda. 2004. Relational adjectives as properties of kinds.. In Empirical Issues in Formal Syntax and Semantics 5. Edited by Olivier Bonami and Patricia Cabredo Hofherr, 179–196. Paris: Colloque de syntaxe et sémantique à Paris.

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                                                      Treats relational adjectives (e.g., technical) as properties of kinds. The argument builds on their limited predicative uses, ordering restrictions, scope insensitivity, and classifying meaning contribution. The analysis follows in spirit approaches that recast putatively nonintersective modifiers in terms of intersection (see Larson 1998, cited under Logical Tradition).

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                                                      • Shapiro, Stewart, ed. 2013. Special issue: Contextualism and relativism. Inquiry 56.2–3: 97–326.

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                                                        Special issue that comprises case-studies on the intricacies of truth assessment in natural language. Both foundational questions of so-called contextualism and relativism and the role of individual key concepts (modality, mental states, subjectivity, vagueness, and discourse dynamics) are discussed; predicates of personal taste as tasty form part of the essential subject matter. Available by subscription.

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                                                        • Stump, Gregory. 1981. The interpretation of frequency adjectives. Linguistics and Philosophy 4.2: 221–257.

                                                          DOI: 10.1007/BF00350140Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          Pioneering formal treatment of adverbial and generic readings of frequency adjectives (e.g., An occasional sailor strolled by vs. An occasional cup of coffee tastes good). Argues for a common semantic core (quantification of subintervals) and syntactic differences: adverbial readings build upon a determiner variant, generic readings receive an adjectival treatment.

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                                                          • Travis, Charles. 1997. Pragmatics. In A companion to the philosophy of language. Edited by Bob Hale and Crispin Wright, 87–107. Oxford: Blackwell.

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                                                            Puts into question that natural language expressions may receive fixed truth conditions determined by compositional means. Argues for a pragmatic perspective where expressions are associated with indefinitely many truth conditions; color terms and their varying meaning contributions figure prominently in his argument.

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                                                            • Zimmermann, Malte. 2003. Pluractionality and complex quantifier formation. Natural Language Semantics 11.3: 249–287.

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                                                              Captures DP-external adverbial readings of DP-internal adjectives (e.g., An occasional sailor/Individual sailors strolled by) by syntactic means: frequency adjectives and determiners form complex pluractional quantifiers (see Stump 1981); individual undergoes LF-movement to SpecDP. The analysis builds on distributional commonalities and differences as observed for English, German, and Finnish.

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                                                              Inflection, Adverbials, and Relative Clauses

                                                              Inflectional morphemes as contributed by, for example, tense markers are usually not treated as modifiers proper. In Nominal Domain, however, the semantics of genitives (e.g., the team of John’s) has been vividly discussed in terms of the opposition between modifiers and arguments (see for foundational questions Defining Modification). Vikner and Jensen 2002 represents a uniform argument analysis of the English genitive; Partee and Borschev 2003 ponders various alternatives, finally favoring a split approach. Bücking 2012 details the syntax and semantics of German adnominal genitives, arguing for a (largely) uniform modifier analysis. Notably, the monograph also details, building on Maienborn 2001 (cited under Participant-Oriented Adverbials), the semantic composition of adnominal adverbial locatives. The interpretation of adnominal relative clauses has received much attention in the literature. Typically relative clauses are treated in terms of intersective modifiers that join the nominal head similarly to intersective adjectives (see Heim and Kratzer 1998, cited under Textbooks). Bach and Cooper 1978 proposes a less common alternative where relative clauses join full noun phrases. A much discussed topic in research on relative clauses is the difference between standard restrictive relative clauses and supplemental appositive ones; see section At-Issue Vs. Non-At-Issue Content for relevant sources.

                                                              • Bach, Emmon, and Robin Cooper. 1978. The NP-S analysis of relative clauses and compositional semantics. Linguistics and Philosophy 2.1: 145–150.

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                                                                Compositional analysis of relative clause modification, where relative clauses join not nouns, but noun phrases; combines a generalized quantifier analysis of noun phrases with an abstraction over additional predicates. While noun modification is simpler for English, argues that, for example, Hittite calls for the alternative noun phrase modification.

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                                                                • Bücking, Sebastian. 2012. Kompositional flexible: Partizipanten und Modifikatoren in der Nominaldomäne. Tübingen, Germany: Stauffenburg.

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                                                                  Argues for a (largely) uniform modifier analysis of German adnominal genitives; develops a compositional treatment of adnominal locatives, building upon Maienborn 2001 (cited under Participant-Oriented Adverbials). The analyses combine the syntax-semantics interface rules proposed in Egg 2005, the type logic discussed in Asher 2011 (both cited under Meaning Adaptations) and aspects of the treatment of post-head adverbials in Haider 2004 (cited under Verbal Domain).

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                                                                  • Partee, Barbara H., and Vladimir Borschev. 2003. Genitives, relational nouns, and argument-modifier ambiguity. In Modifying adjuncts. Edited by Ewald Lang, Claudia Maienborn, and Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen, 67–112. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                    Ponders modifier-only, argument-only, and split approaches to the genitive if construed with (non-)relational nouns (e.g., the sister (/ team) of John’s). Draws on evidence from predicative constructions and ambiguities (e.g., John’s former mansion). Argues for a split approach to English genitives; suggests argument-only analyses for other languages (e.g., Russian).

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                                                                    • Vikner, Carl, and Per A. Jensen. 2002. A semantic analysis of the English genitive: Interaction of lexical and formal semantics. Studia Linguistica 56.2: 191–226.

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                                                                      Argument-only approach to the English genitive in combination with (non-)relational nouns; argues that genitives that combine with non-relational nouns (e.g., John’s poem) license a coercive mapping to a suitable relational interpretation. The implementation makes crucial use of qualia structures as proposed by Pustejovsky 1995, cited under Meaning Adaptations.

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                                                                      Degree Modification

                                                                      Traditionally, modifiers are subdivided according to morpho-syntactic criteria (e.g., their syntactic distribution and function). This section takes up degree modification, exemplified most prominently by such adjectival examples as very small (see for this section’s traditional counterparts Adnominal Modification and Adverbal Modification).

                                                                      Foundations of Comparative Semantics

                                                                      Degree modification is closely related to the analysis of comparatives which is a complex topic in its own right. This section assembles some elementary sources for orientation. Beck 2011 is a recent comprehensive overview of comparative semantics; it includes a condensed version of the standard degree-based approach to comparatives developed in von Stechow 1984. Preceding representatives of the classic opposition between degree-based and non-degree-based approaches are Cresswell 1976 and Klein 1980.

                                                                      • Beck, Sigrid. 2011. Comparison constructions. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning. Vol. 2. Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn, and Paul Portner, 1341–1390. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                        Provides an updated version of von Stechow 1984. Reviews extensions of this standard degree-based approach to various key issues of comparative semantics (e.g., the analysis of positives, negative equatives, superlatives, intensional comparatives, and measure phrases). Details challenges that arise from cross-linguistic variation and from the interaction with quantifiers.

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                                                                        • Cresswell, Max J. 1976. The semantics of degree. In Montague Grammar. Edited by Barbara H. Partee, 261–292. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                          Degree-based approach to comparative adjectives that assumes that adjectives are endowed with an underlying degree argument; the analysis is extended to mass nouns and numerical comparatives. Degrees are modeled in terms of equivalence classes that consist of the individuals with equivalent measures according to a particular dimension (e.g., height).

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                                                                          • Klein, Ewan. 1980. A semantics for positive and comparative adjectives. Linguistics and Philosophy 4.1: 1–45.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/BF00351812Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            Details a model-theoretic interpretation of positive and comparative adjectives within a supervaluation approach to vagueness (see Kamp 1975, cited under Logical Tradition); also discusses measure and degree expressions. Treats, as suggested by their simple syntax, positive forms as simple properties, not derived from comparative semantics. The analysis opposes degree-based approaches such as the one by Cresswell 1976.

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                                                                            • von Stechow, Arnim. 1984. Comparing semantic theories of comparison. Journal of Semantics 3.1: 1–77.

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                                                                              Extensive discussion of how early approaches to comparatives (among these are Cresswell 1976, Klein 1980, but also others) cope with a wide range of data (e.g., ambiguities, differential readings, the interaction with quantifiers, negative polarity items, and modality). Proposes his own influential approach (see Beck 2011 for a condensed version); the volume includes commentaries.

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                                                                              Degree Modifiers

                                                                              This section assembles sources that focus on the interpretation and distribution of degree modifiers. The classic monograph Bolinger 1972 is a very rich source that lists and describes various degree-modifying forms and constructions in English. The distribution of degree modifiers, in particular as conditioned by the scale structure of their adjectival targets, is detailed in the much cited article Kennedy and McNally 2005. The syntactic behavior of degree modifiers is extensively discussed by Neeleman, et al. 2004. Morzycki 2009 and Doetjes, et al. 2009 share the concern with Degree Modification beyond the adjectival domain. While Doetjes, et al. proposes an updated non-degree-based approach (see Klein 1980, cited under Foundations of Comparative Semantics), Morzycki details the semantics of adnominal degree modification in terms of degrees. Zwarts and Winter 2000 is interesting for its cross-categorial perspective as well: it is primarily interested in the interpretation of locative prepositional phrases—however, the argument also ponders the role of measure phrases that modify these.

                                                                              • Bolinger, Dwight L. 1972. Degree words. The Hague: Mouton.

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                                                                                A very rich resource for degree words and intensification in English. Discusses intensifiers with adjectives and, most notably, with nouns and verbs. Non-lexical means of intensification (e.g., prosody, negation, and specific syntactic constructions) are also touched upon. An index of the words discussed provides orientation.

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                                                                                • Doetjes, Jenny, Camelia Constantinescu, and Kateřina Součková. 2009. A neo-Kleinian approach to comparatives. In Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 19. Edited by Ed Cormany, Satoshi Ito and David Lutz, 124–141.

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                                                                                  Ponders the (dis)advantages of degree-less and degree-based approaches to comparatives (see Klein 1980 and Cresswell 1976, both cited under Foundations of Comparative Semantics). Argues that cross-categorial degree modification speaks in favor of Klein’s degree-less approach; refines the original proposal by involving a comparison of degree functions (instead of simply a comparison of degrees).

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                                                                                  • Kennedy, Christopher, and Louise McNally. 2005. Scale structure, degree modification, and the semantics of gradable predicates. Language 81.2: 345–381.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1353/lan.2005.0071Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    Comprehensive argument for treating scale structure and context-sensitive determination of the standard of comparison as grammatically relevant features of gradable adjectives. In particular, argues that recourse to these aspects paves the way to a formal semantics treatment of the degree modifiers very, much, and well that captures their varying distribution.

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                                                                                    • Morzycki, Marcin. 2009. Degree modification of gradable nouns: Size adjectives and adnominal degree morphemes. Natural Language Semantics 17.2: 175–203.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/s11050-009-9045-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      Contributes to a grammar of nominal gradability by treating observed regularities largely analogously to degree modification within adjective phrases. Besides adnominal degree morphemes, the peculiar interpretation and distribution of so-called size adjectives (e.g., big in a big stamp-collector) form the core of this argument.

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                                                                                      • Neeleman, Ad, Hans van de Koot, and Jenny Doetjes. 2004. Degree expressions. The Linguistic Review 21.1: 1–66.

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                                                                                        Discusses a wide range of degree expressions. Argues, based on various syntactic indications (e.g., the distribution of much), for dividing them into non-projecting modifiers (e.g., a little) and projecting heads (e.g., very). Provides evidence against the thesis that the syntactic partition coincides with semantic classifications.

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                                                                                        • Zwarts, Joost, and Yoad Winter. 2000. Vector space semantics: A model-theoretic analysis of locative prepositions. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 9.2: 169–211.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1023/A:1008384416604Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          Analyzes prepositional phrases (e.g., outside the house) as sets of vectors (i.e., segments that form directed lines within space); thoroughly discusses properties such as monotonicity and conservativity, both known from quantifier semantics (see Keenan 2011, cited under Adverbs of Quantification). Outlines a compositional treatment of preposition modification and explores its constraints (e.g., 3 meters behind/*inside/*near the house).

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                                                                                          Adverbal Modification

                                                                                          Traditionally, modifiers are subdivided according to morpho-syntactic criteria (e.g., their syntactic distribution and function). This section takes up adverbal modification (see for its traditional counterparts the sections Adnominal Modification and Degree Modification). Maienborn and Schäfer 2011 is an up-to-date survey of the semantics of adverbials; the broad subclassification of adverbials used in this article is taken from there (see the sections Predicational Adverbials, Participant-Oriented Adverbials, and Adverbs of Quantification). A succinct, but rich overview of the characteristics of various adverbial classes is provided in Bonami, et al. 2004; Abeillé, et al. 2004 characterizes informally basic traits of quantifying adverbials—see for details, besides Adverbs of Quantification, Degree Modification. Ernst 2002 is a comprehensive discussion of adverbial syntax (see as well Verbal Domain). Notably, despite his focus on syntactic issues, Ernst also pays considerable attention to adverbial semantics. Adverbial sentences constitute a topic in its own right. The present bibliography does not do justice to this major area of research; this relates to the fact that adverbial sentences are often associated not with modification proper, but with other combinatorial operations such as, for example, quantification. However, for a starting point, see the recent survey of the semantics of adverbial sentences by Sæbø 2011 and the references to further literature therein.

                                                                                          • Abeillé, Anne, Jenny Doetjes, Arie Molendijk, and Henriëtte de Swart. 2004. Adverbs and quantification. In Handbook of French semantics. Edited by Francis Corblin and Henriëtte de Swart, 185–209. Stanford, CA: CSLI.

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                                                                                            Overview of semantic and syntactic properties of different types of quantifying adverbs. Based on French data, distinguishes between two broad groups: frequency/iterative adverbs (e.g., often) treated as quantifiers and degree adverbs (e.g., completely) treated as scale modifiers despite partly giving rise to quantificational readings—see as well sections Adverbs of Quantification and Degree Modification. Also available online.

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                                                                                            • Bonami, Olivier, Danièle Godard, and Brigitte Kampers-Manhe. 2004. Adverb classification. In Handbook of French semantics. Edited by Francis Corblin and Henriëtte de Swart, 143–184. Stanford, CA: CSLI.

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                                                                                              Provides for a detailed survey of constitutive properties of various adverb types; remains neutral with respect to specific theories and points to a range of shortcomings of existing proposals. Tests adverbs for common characteristics such as intensionality, veridicality, and syntactic position; particular emphasis is placed on the role of prosodic (dis)integration and pragmatics as evidenced, for example, by speech act compatibility. Also available online.

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                                                                                              • Ernst, Thomas. 2002. The Syntax of adjuncts. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                Comprehensive monograph that details—based mainly on English, Chinese, and Romance data—the syntactic distribution of all important adverb(ial) classes. Focusing on the interfaces to semantics and phonology, argues that adverbial distribution depends primarily on independent compositional principles, lexical information, and phonological constraints, but not on hierarchical functional projections (see Cinque 1999, cited under Verbal Domain).

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                                                                                                • Maienborn, Claudia, and Martin Schäfer. 2011. Adverbs and adverbials. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning. Vol. 2. Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn and Paul Portner, 1390–1420. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                  A succinct overview of adverbial modification that presents a basic classification of different types of adverbials and adverbs building upon their lexical, inferential, and distributional characteristics. It includes both a review of important theoretical approaches and an introduction to current debates on the compositionality of adverbial modification and its conceptual underpinnings.

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                                                                                                  • Sæbø, Kjell J. 2011. Adverbial Clauses. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning. Vol. 2. Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn, and Paul Portner, 1420–1441. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                    Presents, in an accessible manner, essential semantic properties of core types of adverbial sentences. Addresses temporal, conditional, causal, result, purpose, and concessive finite clauses and nonfinite participle constructions. Notes that adverbial sentences, despite all being modifying in some sense, combine via diverse modes of composition (quantification, intersection, application, and unification).

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                                                                                                    Foundational Theoretical Perspectives

                                                                                                    Jackendoff 1972 is a crucial early argument in favor of treating the class of adverbs as a grammatical category in its own right; his basic subclassification has been an influential point of departure for subsequent work on adverb classification according to syntactic criteria. The adequate semantic analysis of adverbial modification and corresponding entailment patterns provides one key motivation for the assumption within event semantics that (certain) verbs introduce a referential event argument. Reichenbach 1947 was the first to propose a logical form for adverbial modification in this spirit und compare it to alternatives; however, the cornerstone work most semanticists refer to is Davidson 1980. Bartsch 1976 is an early monograph on adverbials that elaborates on the line of thought represented by Reichenbach and Davidson. A classic book-length introduction to (an updated version of) the Davidsonian paradigm is Parsons 1990. While the Davidsonian perspective presumably plays the predominant role in current research on adverbial modification, there are also alternative conceptions: Thomason and Stalnaker 1973 is known for its analysis of adverbs as endotypical operators; in contrast, McConnell-Ginet 1982 argues for a variable binding approach that capitalizes on the idea that (certain) adverbial modifiers in fact fill in verbal arguments (see Beaver and Condoravdi 2007, cited under Participant-Oriented Adverbials, for a related proposal).

                                                                                                    • Bartsch, Renate. 1976. The grammar of adverbials. A study in the semantics and syntax of adverbial constructions. Translated by Ferenc Kiefer. Amsterdam: North-Holland.

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                                                                                                      English translation of Adverbialsemantik. Die Konstitution logisch-semantischer Repräsentationen von Adverbialkonstruktionen, first published in 1972 (Frankfurt: Athenäum). Develops a fine-grained adverbial classification, building on an elaborate system of paraphrases, and a detailed look at inferences and (constraints of) adverbial combinatorics. Employs an interpreted multi-sorted predicate logic that accounts for adverbial properties via the formal language’s syntax. Follows in spirit Davidson and Reichenbach, but goes far beyond their coverage.

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                                                                                                      • Davidson, Donald. 1980. The logical form of action sentences. In Essays on actions and events. Edited by Donald Davidson, 105–122. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                        Originally published in 1967, Davidson’s famous plea for events as reified objects feeds (and is fed by) an analysis of intersective adverbial modifiers as first-order predicates of events. The proposal has two major merits: the proposal elegantly accounts for both entailment patterns and intuitive analogies between adverbal and Adnominal Modification.

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                                                                                                        • Jackendoff, Ray. 1972. Semantic interpretation in generative grammar. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                                                                          Chapter 3 comprises an early argument for considering adverbs a grammatical category in their own right. Based on a distinction between initial, auxiliary, and final position, uncovers basic distributional patterns and their semantic grounds. Discusses the merits of a distinction between sentential adverbs and adverbs dominated by VP.

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                                                                                                          • McConnell-Ginet, Sally. 1982. Adverbs and logical form: A linguistically realistic theory. Language 58.1: 144–184.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/413534Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            Argues for treating adverbials as variable binding operators; accordingly, Verb-Related Adverbials fill in verbal arguments. The proposal, conceptualized as an alternative to operator approaches (see Thomason and Stalnaker 1973), is concerned with various types of adverbials (from verb-related to sentential ones); addresses issues of syntax-sensitivity, adverb orientation, and characteristic entailment patterns.

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                                                                                                            • Parsons, Terence. 1990. Events in the semantics of English: A study in subatomic semantics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                                                                              Comprehensive and very accessible survey of essential issues in event semantics; defends a neo-Davidsonian perspective—that is, the event argument hypothesis extends to states; thematic roles are event-participant relations. The discussion involves modifiers, including temporal adverbials. A table of contents where each chapter is briefly summarized allows for easy orientation.

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                                                                                                              • Reichenbach, Hans. 1947. Elements of symbolic logic. New York: Free Press.

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                                                                                                                Famous for his tense-aspect system; however, also argues for conceiving of events as things (see Davidson 1980). Moreover, discusses logical representations of (various forms of) attributive and adverbial modification (e.g., red building versus driving slowly/slow driver—see as well the references cited under Logical Tradition). Ponders analyses of adverbs as properties of properties versus properties of events.

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                                                                                                                • Thomason, Richmond H., and Robert C. Stalnaker. 1973. A semantic theory of adverbs. Linguistic Inquiry 4.2: 195–220.

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                                                                                                                  One of the first essential contributions to a semantic theory of adverbial modification. Argues, based on various diagnostics, for distinguishing between sentence adverbs and predicate adverbs. Formally, adverbs are treated uniformly as endotypical operators. It is shown how the proposal captures adverb-dependent inference and ambiguity patterns.

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                                                                                                                  Predicational Adverbials

                                                                                                                  This section assembles works on predicational adverbials. Predicational adverbials contribute a property that is often gradable. The property’s argument can be a verbal or a sentential referent (see the sections Verb-Related Adverbials and Sentential Adverbials, respectively).

                                                                                                                  Verb-Related Adverbials

                                                                                                                  Verb-related adverbials are most typically exemplified by manner adverbials (e.g., beautifully in to dance beautifully). This section is devoted to sources that focus on this type of adverbial; note, however, that other verb-related adverbials (e.g., mental-attitude adverbials such as reluctantly) and sentential adverbials (e.g., subject-oriented adverbials as in Stupidly, Peter overslept the party—see more generally section Sentential Adverbials) play a crucial role in the discussions as well. A succinct overview of theoretical approaches to manner adverbials is given in Piñón 2008; notably, it revives the interest in manners as reified objects. Eckardt 1998 is a renowned study on manner adverbials that, following the Davidsonian paradigm, details questions about event ontology. The relation between adjective-adverb pairs such as stupid(ly) stimulates the studies on the interaction between various types of adverbials in Geuder 2000. The semantics of deadjectival adverbials is taken up in the recent monograph Schäfer 2013 as well; Schäfer develops a proposal that relates to questions about both the ontology of manners (see Piñón) and the compositional underpinnings of adverbial modification. While his proposal follows the general idea that adverbial modification adheres to compositional principles (see, in particular, Maienborn 2003, cited under Defining Modification), Wyner, in both Wyner 1994 and Wyner 2008, questions a clearcut mapping between syntax and semantics. Landman and Morzycki 2002 is noteworthy for exploring the close relationship between manners and degrees (see as well section Degree Modification).

                                                                                                                  • Eckardt, Regine. 1998. Adverbs, events, and other things: Issues in the semantics of manner adverbs. Tübingen, Germany: Niemeyer.

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                                                                                                                    Provides an insightful discussion of event ontology and the mereological structure of events. Details the semantics of manner adverbs following the Davidsonian paradigm; tackles how syntactic and prosodic factors shape the interpretation of adverbial modifiers.

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                                                                                                                    • Geuder, Wilhelm. 2000. Oriented adverbs: Issues in the lexical semantics of event adverbs. PhD diss., Univ. of Tübingen.

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                                                                                                                      Discusses various adverb types against the background of the semantics of their adjectival cognates (e.g., stupid(ly)); this feeds detailed case studies of, for example, resultative and agent-oriented adverbial readings and their relation to manner modification. Highlights the role of fine-grained lexical and conceptual distinctions for an adequate account of adverbial modification.

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                                                                                                                      • Landman, Meredith, and Marcin Morzycki. 2002. Event-kinds and the representation of manner. In Proceedings of the Western Conference on Linguistics (WECOL) 14, held at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 1–3 November, 2002. Edited by Brian Agbayani, Paivi Koskinen, and Vida Samiian, 136–147. Fresno: California State Univ.

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                                                                                                                        Argues in favor of modeling manners in terms of event kinds. The argument builds upon cross-linguistic equivalence patterns between adnominal anaphors for kinds (as such) and adverbial anaphors for manners (as so).

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                                                                                                                        • Piñón, Christopher. 2008. From properties to manners: A historical line of thought about manner adverbs.. Papers of the Linguistic Society of Belgium 3. Edited by Lobke Aelbrecht, Dany Jaspers, Frank Brisard, Philippe De Brabanter, Patrick Dendale, and Bert Le Bruyn, 1–14.

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                                                                                                                          Brief, but insightful overview of various formal approaches to manner modification, reaching from Reichenbach 1947 (cited under Foundational Theoretical Perspectives) and (Neo-)Davidsonian perspectives (see, for example, Eckardt 1998), to analyses that introduce manners as first-order entities in natural language ontology.

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                                                                                                                          • Schäfer, Martin. 2013. Positions and interpretations: German adverbial adjectives at the syntax-semantics interface. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1515/9783110278286Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Well-organized monograph on the syntax and semantics of adverbial readings of German adjectives; focuses on uses related to the verbal event and its conceptual core. Paraphrases, entailment patterns, scope relations, and ordering restrictions establish a systematic classification: the syntax is similar to the proposal in Frey 2003 (cited under Verbal Domain); the semantics distinguishes manners and events (see Piñón 2008 and Eckardt 1998).

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                                                                                                                            • Wyner, Adam Z. 1994. Boolean event lattices and thematic roles in the syntax and semantics of adverbial modification. PhD diss., Cornell Univ.

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                                                                                                                              Focuses on manner adverbs, speaker-oriented adverbs (e.g., appropriately), mental attitude adverbs (e.g., reluctantly) and their varying logical properties; refines the event-based approach to adverbial modification by developing a Boolean lattice structure for events and their subevents. Argues against theories that claim fixed relations between the syntactic position and interpretation of adverbs.

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                                                                                                                              • Wyner, Adam Z. 2008. Toward flexible types with constraints for manner and factive adverbs. In Adjectives and adverbs: Syntax, semantics, and discourse. Edited by Louise McNally and Christopher Kennedy, 249–273. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                Defends a flexible type approach to adverbs in order to capture their free distribution; focuses on subject-oriented and manner modifiers. The proposal contrasts with the view that syntax and semantics adhere to rigid mapping principles. Inspired by Discourse Representation Theory (see more generally Kamp and Reyle 1993, cited under Participant-Oriented Adverbials), Wyner draws on analogies between intersentential anaphora and intrasentential modification.

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                                                                                                                                Sentential Adverbials

                                                                                                                                This section assembles case studies on sentential adverbials as represented by subject-oriented adverbials, domain adverbials, and speaker-oriented speech-act modifying, epistemic, and evaluative adverbials. Bellert 1977 is a classic overview of sentential adverbials; she justifies, based on distributional differences, their classification into various subgroups. Typically, subject-oriented adverbials are discussed in comparison to verb-related adverbials—see section Verb-Related Adverbials. Domain adverbials are exemplified by examples such as Healthwise, Peter is fine; an early study in terms of dimension indicators is provided by Bartsch 1986. For a discussion of temporal and locative domain-setting adverbials see as well the works cited under Participant-Oriented Adverbials. A well-respected early study of speech act-modifying adverbials such as frankly (speaking) is Mittwoch 1977; see Bach 1999 for a more recent discussion within the context of a (critical) assessment of Gricean conventional implicatures (see as well Potts 2005, cited under At-Issue Vs. Non-At-Issue Content). Evaluative and epistemic speaker-oriented adverbials (e.g., unfortunately) have been matters of controversy over the last decade: Nilsen 2004 and Ernst 2009 argue for their analysis in terms of polarity; however, their perspectives differ with regard to the role of ontological distinctions and the conception of polarity. The in-depth study of evaluatives by Liu 2012 argues for a scope-based approach; she applies and refines the multidimensional framework of Potts 2005.

                                                                                                                                • Bach, Kent. 1999. The myth of conventional implicature. Linguistics and Philosophy 22.4: 327–366.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1023/A:1005466020243Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Chapter 5 provides a taxonomy of utterance modifiers (e.g., frankly); argues for their treatment in terms of second-order illocutions. The argument supports a more general attack on (the Gricean notion of) conventional implicatures. Following up on these themes, Potts 2005 (cited under At-Issue Vs. Non-At-Issue Content) develops a refined and formally explicit account.

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                                                                                                                                  • Bartsch, Renate. 1986. The construction of properties under perspectives. Journal of Semantics 5.4: 293–320.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/jos/5.4.293Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Domain adverbials (e.g., Healthwise, Peter is fine) are analyzed in terms of dimension indicators; the work builds upon the idea that, typically, for example, adjectives do not contribute properties by themselves, but by combination with (contextual) dimensional specifications. Proposes a type-theoretic account; discusses different forms of dimension indicators and their combinatorics.

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                                                                                                                                    • Bellert, Irena. 1977. On semantic and distributional properties of sentential adverbs. Linguistic Inquiry 8.2: 337–351.

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                                                                                                                                      Calls attention to crucial distributional and corresponding semantic differences within the group of sentential adverbs; her proposal, which distinguishes among evaluative, modal, domain, conjunctive, and pragmatic adverbs, considerably refines the adverb classification of Jackendoff 1972 and provides an insightful amendment to logically inspired theories such as the one by Thomason and Stalnaker 1973 (see for both texts Foundational Theoretical Perspectives).

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                                                                                                                                      • Ernst, Thomas. 2009. Speaker-oriented adverbs. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 27.3: 497–544.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1007/s11049-009-9069-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Speaker-oriented adverbs are distinguished according to the degree they involve the speaker’s subjectivity; this, combined with a treatment of speaker-oriented adverbs as positive polarity items, accounts for their linear order. The analysis argues for a semantically-based approach to adverb linearization (see section Verbal Domain) and for a veridicality-based approach to polarity (which distinguishes his approach from Nilsen 2004).

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                                                                                                                                        • Liu, Mingya. 2012. Multidimensional semantics of evaluative adverbs. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1163/9789004248496Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Elaborating on Potts’ multidimensional semantics (see Potts 2005, cited under At-Issue Vs. Non-At-Issue Content), this in-depth study shows how evaluative adverbs (in German, English, and Mandarin Chinese) contribute to at-issue content, conventional implicatures, and presuppositions. The analysis motivates a distinction between (non-)factive evaluatives, covers their subjectivity, and treats distribution patterns via scoping requirements (as opposed to Nilsen 2004 and Ernst 2009).

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                                                                                                                                          • Mittwoch, Anita. 1977. How to refer to one’s own words: Speech-act modifying adverbials and the performative analysis. Journal of Linguistics 13.2: 177–189.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/S0022226700005387Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Argues that speech act-modifying adverbials are not modifiers within deleted superordinate performative clauses, but rather parentheticals. Mittwoch includes infinitives such as to sum up and speech act-modifying finite clauses in her discussion and suggests a uniform pragmatic account where speech act modifiers relate to felicity conditions of speech acts.

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                                                                                                                                            • Nilsen, Øystein. 2004. Domains for adverbs. Lingua 114.6: 809–847.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1016/S0024-3841(03)00052-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Treats speaker-oriented adverbs as positive polarity items; these function as modal quantifiers that bring about a shrinkage of quantificational domains. Thereby Nilsen derives adverb distribution patterns via semantics without, however, exploiting ontological distinctions (as in Ernst 2002, cited under Adverbal Modification). The discussion includes contrasts between adjective-adverb pairs such as possibl(e/y).

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                                                                                                                                              Participant-Oriented Adverbials

                                                                                                                                              A participant-oriented adverbial features an entity that takes part in the eventuality or situation the adverbial relates to; typical representatives of this group are temporal and locative adverbials. Neither Vendler 1967 nor Dowty 1979 focus on adverbials in particular; however, their seminal works on aspectual verb classes relate in crucial ways to the semantics of different types of temporal modifiers—see as well the discussion of aspectual coercion in Meaning Adaptations. Ogihara 2011 is an overview article on tense, within which he also addresses the relation between tense and temporal adverbials. Kamp and Reyle 1993 introduces a treatment of temporal adverbials within discourse representation theory. A very detailed discussion of locatives, paying much attention to the compositional backbone of their integration (see as well Verbal Domain), is provided by Maienborn 2001. Since participant-oriented adverbials involve participants—that is, natural candidates for quantification—respective research deserves special attention; moreover, the debates bear on the relation between modification and quantification on a general scale (see for basics about quantification Keenan 2011, cited under Adverbs of Quantification). Pratt and Francez 2001 ponders a generalized quantifier analysis of quantified temporal modifiers; it is superseded by the compositional approach within Combinatory Categorial Grammar in Francez and Steedman 2006. A theoretic alternative, closely following the generative framework as developed in Heim and Kratzer 1998 (cited under Textbooks), is provided by von Stechow 2002. Beaver and Condoravdi 2007 is noteworthy for still another reason: the authors argue more generally against the prevailing Davidsonian perspective on Adverbal Modification, and the challenges that are posed by quantified adverbials and not easily reconcilable with Davidsonian event semantics are considered as one indication of that point.

                                                                                                                                              • Beaver, David, and Cleo Condoravdi. 2007. On the logic of verbal modification.. In Proceedings of the Sixteenth Amsterdam Colloquium. Edited by Maria Aloni, Paul Dekker, and Floris Roelofsen, 3–9. Amsterdam: ILLC/Department of Philosophy. Univ. of Amsterdam.

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                                                                                                                                                Short argument for treating verbal meanings as structures that link verbs with arguments and modifiers via assignment functions (see, for similarities, McConnell-Ginet 1982, cited under Foundational Theoretical Perspectives). Highlights key advantages: captures inference patterns without assuming Davidsonian events; allows a simple account of quantificational modifiers (in contrast to Pratt and Francez 2001 and von Stechow 2002).

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                                                                                                                                                • Dowty, David R. 1979. Word meaning and Montague grammar: The semantics of verbs and times in generative semantics and in Montague’s PTQ. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Reidel.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1007/978-94-009-9473-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Seminal monograph that spells out a decompositional approach to word meanings within the compositionally rigid format of Montague grammar. Develops a compositional semantics of aspectual distinctions (see Vendler 1967), tense, and time adverbials, finally wrapped up in a model-theoretic fragment. Discusses ambiguity and aspectual reinterpretation phenomena (see Meaning Adaptations).

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                                                                                                                                                  • Francez, Nissim, and Mark Steedman. 2006. Categorial grammar and the semantics of contextual prepositional phrases. Linguistics and Philosophy 29.4: 381–417.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/s10988-006-9000-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Amends and develops the account of quantified temporals by Pratt and Francez 2001 within combinatory categorial grammar. Notably, makes use of a rigid syntax-semantics interface, thereby providing for an alternative to von Stechow 2002 from a different theoretical angle. The analysis is extended to locative prepositional phrases.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Kamp, Hans, and Uwe Reyle. 1993. From discourse to logic: introduction to modeltheoretic semantics of natural language, formal logic and discourse representation theory. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

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                                                                                                                                                      Chapter 5.5 introduces the semantics of temporal adverbials from the perspective of discourse representation theory. Discusses locating adverbials (e.g., on Sunday), quantificational adverbials (e.g., always—see section Adverbs of Quantification), temporal measure adverbials (e.g., for an hour), and temporal subordinate clauses.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Maienborn, Claudia. 2001. On the position and interpretation of locative modifiers. Natural Language Semantics 9.2: 191–240.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1023/A:1012405607146Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Based on manifold syntactic and semantic criteria (e.g., focus projection, principle-C-effects, remnant topicalization, and inference patterns) argues for a three-way distinction of locatives in German: locatives internal to the verb phrase localize a part of the target event; external locatives localize the whole event; topic-related frame-setters set a domain of evaluation.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Ogihara, Toshiyuki. 2011. Tense. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning. Vol. 2. Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn, and Paul Portner, 1463–1484. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                          Very accessible introduction to the semantics of tense that also discusses the interaction between tense and temporal adverbials. Ponders the question of whether crucial temporal information (such as the shift to past situations) originates with (c)overt temporal adverbials rather than with tense morphemes (see Dowty 1979 for a corresponding proposal).

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                                                                                                                                                          • Pratt, Ian, and Nissim Francez. 2001. Temporal prepositions and temporal generalized quantifiers. Linguistics and Philosophy 24.2: 187–222.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1023/A:1005632801858Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            Shows that (potentially stacked) quantifying temporal prepositional phrases (e.g., Mary kissed John during every meeting on a Monday) present non-trivial problems to simple conjunction analyses of modification. The proposed solution builds on contextual temporal variables; temporal modifiers hence figure as temporal generalized quantifiers, uniformly for both nominal and sentential levels.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Vendler, Zeno. 1967. Linguistics in Philosophy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                              Influential argument in favor of distinguishing four verbal aspectual classes in terms of time schemata: activities, accomplishments, achievements, and states. Temporal modifiers are used as diagnostics. Coercion and underspecification analyses discuss how to explain that verbs may, within certain limits, instantiate different aspectual classes; see Meaning Adaptations.

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                                                                                                                                                              • von Stechow, Arnim. 2002. Temporal prepositional phrases with quantifiers: Some additions to Pratt and Francez (2001). Linguistics and Philosophy 25.5: 755–800.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1023/A:1020872017811Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                Shares with Pratt and Francez 2001 basic insights (see the inclusion of temporal variables), but objects to its compositional implementation. In contrast, treats temporal adverbials within an abstract syntax that relies on quantifier raising; builds in aspect and tense in a way not tackled by Pratt and Francez.

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                                                                                                                                                                Adverbs of Quantification

                                                                                                                                                                Modification and quantification are usually taken as clearly distinct operations. However, this distinction renders quantification and its characterizing traits a noteworthy area of contrast; adverbs of quantification such as usually are a particularly much-discussed case in point. For a general introduction to quantifiers and quantification see the up-to-date overview by Keenan 2011. Classics on adverbs of quantification are Lewis 1975 and Heim 1982; Heim develops Lewis’s ideas on unselective binding into a more general full-blown grammatical theory. Kamp 1981 is not directly concerned with adverbs of quantification; however, his proposal must be mentioned here for being the famous twin to Heim’s work and the birth of discourse representation theory. de Swart 1993 is a comprehensive argument for treating adverbs of quantification not as unselective binders but as quantifiers over eventualities. More recently, Hinterwimmer 2008 details a situation semantics approach that integrates and elaborates on facets of both Heim’s and de Swart’s accounts; the monograph evaluates further important works on the topic.

                                                                                                                                                                • de Swart, Henriëtte. 1993. Adverbs of quantification: A generalized quantifier approach. New York: Garland.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Well-organized argument for analyzing adverbs of quantification as generalized quantifiers over eventualities (in contrast to Lewis 1975 and Heim 1982). Distinguishes modification and quantification; critically reflects on essential preceding approaches; discusses the interaction with focus-background structure and explicit subordinate clauses; ponders subclassifications according to crucial logical properties known for determiners.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Heim, Irene. 1982. The semantics of definite and indefinite noun phrases. PhD diss., Univ. of Massachusetts.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Advances unselective binding approach to adverbs of quantification by integrating it within a theory of indefinite noun phrases as variables (Lewis 1975). Famous for a uniform analysis of donkey sentences (e.g., If a man owns a donkey, he (always) beats it) in terms of tripartite structures spanned by, for example, (covert) adverbial operators.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Hinterwimmer, Stefan. 2008. Q-adverbs as selective binders: The quantificational variability of free relatives and definite DPs. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Framed within situation semantics (whose basics are briefly overviewed); argues that quantificational adverbs invariably quantify over situations. The approach, while similar to de Swart 1993, also details structural conditions, in the spirit of unselective binding accounts. Focuses on (constraints of) quantificational variability as observed with different DP-types.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Kamp, Hans. 1981. A theory of truth and semantic representation. In Formal methods in the study of language. Vol. 1. Edited by Jeroen Groenendijk, Theo Janssen, and Martin Stokhof, 277–322. Amsterdam: Mathematisch Centrum.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Founds discourse representation theory; similarly to the independent proposal in Heim 1982, provides for a dynamic interpretation of donkey sentences that relies crucially on indefinites as non-quantificational expressions. Does not address quantificational adverbs explicitly; however, the discussion of conditionals, universal quantification, and relative clauses bears implicitly on their analysis.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Keenan, Edward L. 2011. Quantifiers. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning. Vol. 2. Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn and Paul Portner, 1058–1087. Berlin: de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Perspicuous overview of quantification, framed within generalized quantifier theory. Focuses on logical properties and semantic generalizations characteristic of natural language determiner quantification (i.e., simple quantifier D(P)s, such as some (students), and complex ones, such as every student but Paul). A brief chapter ponders the applicability of the developed perspectives to adverbial quantification.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Lewis, David. 1975. Adverbs of quantification. In Formal semantics of natural language. Papers from a colloquium sponsored by the King’s College Research Centre, Cambridge. Edited by Edward L. Keenan, 3–15. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Argues for treating adverbs of quantification (e.g. always, sometimes, usually) as unselective quantifiers over cases. The paper had considerable influence on subsequent work on the semantics of conditionals, (indefinite) noun phrases, and quantification in general.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Modification at the Interfaces

                                                                                                                                                                            The semantic contribution of modifiers interacts in manifold ways with syntactic, morphological, and pragmatic conditions. The works cited in the sections Syntax, Morphology, and Pragmatics pay special attention to such interface phenomena and their analysis. The role of modifiers within natural language processing and acquisition is tackled in the studies that are assembled in the section Psycholinguistics.

                                                                                                                                                                            Syntax

                                                                                                                                                                            This section is devoted to sources that focus on the syntax of modifiers; the texts in the section Nominal Domain are concerned primarily with adjectives, those in the section Verbal Domain are mostly about adverb(ial)s. For information on the syntax of degree modifiers see Neeleman, et al. 2004, cited under Degree Modifiers.

                                                                                                                                                                            The Nominal Domain

                                                                                                                                                                            In Demonte 2008 and Cinque 2010, two distinguished experts of the field propose syntactic treatments of adjectives that, roughly speaking, follow the generative tradition. Demonte’s proposal is framed within minimalism; Cinque’s work is well-known for its analysis of modifiers in terms of specifiers spanned by functional projections. Rijkhoff 2008 makes use of functional discourse grammar and thereby develops an alternative general perspective on adnominal modifiers.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Cinque, Guglielmo. 2010. The syntax of adjectives. A comparative study. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014168.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              Transparently organized monograph that explains generalizations about the syntax-semantics interface of Romance versus Germanic adnominal adjectives in terms of phrasal movements; specifically, argues that adjectives either project as specifiers of functional projections (see Cinque 1999, cited under Verbal Domain, for analogous perspectives on adverbials) or are traced back to reduced relative clauses.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Demonte, Violeta. 2008. Meaning-form correlations and adjective position in Spanish. In Adjectives and adverbs: Syntax, semantics, and discourse. Edited by Louise McNally and Christopher Kennedy, 71–100. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Framed within minimalism, argues for a tight connection between the syntax and semantics of adjectival modification: postnominal adjectives are properties that combine with nouns via external Merge; prenominal adjectives map properties onto properties and are integrated via Pair-Merge. Furthermore, displacement to a focus position, correlated with internal Merge, is possible.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Rijkhoff, Jan. 2008. Descriptive and discourse-referential modifiers in a layered model of the noun phrase. Linguistics 46.4: 789–829.

                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1515/LING.2008.026Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  Rooted within functional discourse grammar and based on cross-linguistic distributional patterns, discusses the mapping between semantic and formal properties of (subtypes of) descriptive (e.g., black dog) and discourse-referential (e.g., the dog) modifiers. The concept of modification differs fundamentally from the semantic perspective that is put forth in the section Defining Modification—see, for example, the subsumption of determiners.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  The Verbal Domain

                                                                                                                                                                                  The syntax of adverb(ial)s has been vividly discussed over the last two decades. Delfitto 2006 provides for an overview (however, it covers only texts published up to the year 2000); Alexiadou 2004 is an anthology of papers that represent important strands of thought on the topic. Cinque 1999 develops a very influential proposal according to which adverbial modifiers are specifiers of functional projections. This specifier analysis is challenged by Ernst 2002, cited under Adverbal Modification, and Haider 2004, who argue for treating adverbials in terms of adjunction that is controlled not by syntax, but by semantic constraints. Frey 2003 advances a proposal that is often considered a compromise between the argument for such free adjunction and Cinque’s carthographic syntax-semantics interface. In Ramchand 2007, adverbials play only a secondary role; however, it is a useful source for those interested in minimalist semantics and the idea of mapping decomposed events introduced by verbs (see Davidson 1980, cited under Foundational Theoretical Perspectives) to fine-grained syntactic substructures.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Alexiadou, Artemis, ed. 2004. Taking up the gauntlet: Adverbs across frameworks. Special issue. Lingua 114.6: 677–848.

                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1016/S0024-3841(03)00047-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    Special issue that brings together recognized experts in the field and their (partly) opposing views on adverb syntax and semantics. The individual contributions focus on the following controversies: adjunct vs. specifier analysis of adverbs; competing approaches to the syntax-semantics interface; and typological parameters within cross-linguistic patterns of adverb distribution.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Cinque, Guglielmo. 1999. Adverbs and functional heads: A cross-linguistic perspective. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Seminal argument for treating adverb phrases as specifiers; these are determined by distinct functional heads subject to a rigid hierarchy. Based on manifold cross-linguistic evidence, argues that number, type, and hierarchy of functional projections are universal. Crucially, brings together findings about adverb ordering and the distribution of functional morphemes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Delfitto, Denis. 2006. Adverb classes and adverb placement. In The Blackwell companion to syntax. Vol. 1. Edited by Martin Everaert and Henk van Riemsdijk, 83–120. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1002/9780470996591Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                        Overview that covers essential works on adverbs published by the year 2000. Discusses the categorial status of adverbs, semantically driven adverb classes, the way adverbs project syntactically, and questions that relate to the placement and movement of adverbs. Includes an extra chapter on the syntax-semantics interface of temporal adverbs.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Frey, Werner. 2003. Syntactic conditions on adjunct classes. In Modifying Adjuncts. Edited by Ewald Lang, Claudia Maienborn, and Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen, 163–209. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1515/9783110894646Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          Argues, based on various syntactic diagnostics (e.g., principle C effects, scope relations, and existentially interpreted w-phrases), for grouping German adverbials into five classes, associated with specific structural requirements. Opposes both the rigid assignment of adverbials to syntactic positions via functional structure (see Cinque 1999) and scope-based approaches (see Ernst 2002, cited under Adverbal Modification).

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Haider, Hubert. 2004. Pre-and postverbal adverbials in VO and OV. Lingua 114.6: 779–807.

                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/S0024-3841(03)00051-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            Drawing on head-initial/final contrasts, adjunct-sensitive edge effects, opacity and topicalization patterns, and verb-noun analogies, argues against a specifier analysis of adverbials (and, thus, opposes Cinque 1999). Invokes semantic linking domains in order to capture positional effects (see Ernst 2002, cited under Adverbal Modification). Argues for post-verbal embedded structures where incremental processing conditions adverbial interpretation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ramchand, Gillian C. 2007. Events in syntax: Modification and predication. Language and Linguistics Compass 1.5: 476–497.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-818X.2007.00025.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              Argues for transforming Davidson’s monolithic event into a sequence of subevents that is aligned with a decomposed verbal structure (similar to split approaches to functional domains). The proposal allows for a direct syntax-semantics mapping; draws on evidence from complex predications and (scope- and situation-type-sensitivity of) adverbial modifiers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Morphology

                                                                                                                                                                                              Typically, constituents of compounds are not as strictly related by grammar proper as phrases are; this flexibility renders compound constituents particularly amenable to manifold modifying relations. Olsen 2012 introduces research on compound semantics and pays much attention to the essential role played by modification. For comprehensive general information on compounds see the handbook Lieber and Štekauer 2009. Spalding, et al. 2010 serves as a good starting point for those interested in psycholinguistic research on the combinatorics of meaning within compounds. The monograph Meyer 1993 shows in detail how to get hold of the putatively elusive character of compound relations in terms of a dynamic formal treatment. Both the papers in Schlücker and Hüning 2009 and Schlücker 2013 pick up the question of to what extent the divide into phrases versus compounds correlates with functional distinctions; modification and related concepts such as classification figure prominently in the discussion.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Lieber, Rochelle, and Pavol Štekauer, eds. 2009. The Oxford handbook of compounding. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Comprises overviews of different theoretical approaches to compounding and compounds in individual languages. Does not provide a separate article on modification; however, questions about the potential relations between head and non-head constituents are ubiquitous. The studies provide an easily accessible starting point for approaching both data and models.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Meyer, Ralf. 1993. Compound comprehension in isolation and in context. Tübingen, Germany: Niemeyer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1515/9783111353241Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Shows, by way of application to German newspaper examples, how utterance meanings of novel noun-noun compounds are determined. Going far beyond the notorious statement that compounds are semantically underspecified, develops a precise algorithm based on discourse representation theory that integrates the constraints imposed by conceptual stereotypical knowledge and discourse structure.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Olsen, Susan. 2012. Semantics of compounds. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning. Vol. 3. Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn, and Paul Portner, 2120–2150. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    A clearly arranged review of essential approaches to compound semantics; includes psycholinguistic work on concept combination. Argues that compound interpretation follows an abstract compound template that combines predicate modification with an underspecified relation amenable to conceptual reasoning (see Maienborn 2003, cited under Defining Modification); relates the approach to the protolanguage character of compounding and to typological differences.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Schlücker, Barbara. 2013. Non-classifying compounds in German. Folia Linguistica 47.2: 449–480.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1515/flin.2013.017Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Argues that modifiers in German nominal compounds are not always classifying; they may also receive attitudinal and identifying functions, as in Grottenabend (“lousy evening,” lit. “cave evening”) or Berlusconi-Prozess (lit. “Berlusconi trial”). The argument builds upon functional distinctions as employed by typological studies on noun phrase modification—see Rijkhoff 2008, cited under Nominal Domain.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Schlücker, Barbara, and Matthias Hüning, eds. 2009. Words and phrases—nominal expressions of naming and description. Special issue. Word Structure 2.2: 149–293.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.3366/E1750124509000385Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Special issue that takes a contrastive perspective on the form and interpretation of lexical versus phrasal complex nominal units; an important topic is the relation between modification via ordinary description and classifying naming strategies (e.g., black BOARD vs. BLACKboard). The articles follow various methodologies (i.e., construction grammar, formal semantics, and crosslinguistic comparison).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Spalding, Thomas L., Christina L. Gagné, Allison Mullaly, and Hongbo Ji. 2010. Relation-based interpretations of noun-noun phrases: A new theoretical approach. In New impulses in word-formation. Edited by Susan Olsen, 283–315. Hamburg, Germany: Buske.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Argues, based on psycholinguistic experiments, that the interpretation of noun-noun combinations relies on relational information given by both the modifier and the head noun; however, while the modifier suggests possible relations, the head noun evaluates their plausibility. Includes many references to psychological research on concept combination.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pragmatics

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The analysis of modifiers affects—and is affected by—two prominent strands of thought within pragmatics: the section At-Issue Vs. Non-At-Issue Content assembles works that discuss modifiers against the background of a multidimensional meaning constitution; the section Meaning Adaptations is devoted to texts that account for the flexible interpretation of modifiers in terms of coercion and underspecification.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          At-Issue vs. Non-At-Issue Content

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Potts 2005 has revived the interest in phenomena associated with the Gricean notion of conventional implicature by proposing a multidimensional formal account that differentiates inter alia between at-issue and non-at-issue content; see for a preceding critical discussion Bach 1999, cited under Sentential Adverbials. Among the recurrent essential topics are various forms of modifiers, notably expressives such as damn and supplemental expressions such as appositive structures and sentential adverbs. Potts’s influential approach has been a subject of controversy: see Geurts 2007, which is part of an entire special issue on the topic, for expressives; see Amaral, et al. 2007 and, with a specific focus on appositive relative clauses, AnderBois, et al. 2010 and Schlenker 2013 for supplemental expressions. Morzycki 2008 and Shaer 2003 are both interested in the relationship between the semantic interpretation of (appositive) modifiers and their syntactic distribution. While Morzycki—who proposes an order-sensitive rule for what he calls “expressive predicate modification”—explicitly builds on the work by Potts, Shaer ties in with discussions on the syntax-semantics interface in the case of adverbials—see section Verbal Domain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Amaral, Patrícia, Craige Roberts, and E. Allyn Smith. 2007. Review of “The logic of conventional implicatures” by Chris Potts. Linguistics and Philosophy 30.6: 707–749.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/s10988-008-9025-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Scrutinizes in detail the Potts 2005 multidimensional approach to conventional implicatures. Focusing on supplemental expressions (such as appositive structures and sentential adverbs), argues that Potts undervalues pragmatic effects—notably, phenomena related to performativity, information structure, indexicality, and discourse anaphora. Suggests, as an alternative, a dynamic theory based on context updates and information structural constraints.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • AnderBois, Scott, Adrian Brasoveanu, and Robert Henderson. 2010. Crossing the appositive/at-issue meaning boundary. In Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 20 University of California, Santa Cruz. Edited by Nan Li and David Lutz, 328–346.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Building on, for example, Amaral, et al. 2007, shows that various phenomena (such as anaphora, presuppositions, and ellipsis) systematically undermine the Potts 2005 thesis that appositive relative clauses contribute to a separate meaning dimension. Alternatively, develops a dynamic approach that involves incremental context updates: ordinary meanings propose updates (allowing negotiation), appositives impose them (disallowing negotiation).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Geurts, Bart. 2007. Really fucking brilliant. Theoretical Linguistics 33.2: 209–214.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1515/TL.2007.013Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Argues that expressives resemble ordinary lexical items much more than the theory of Potts 2005 suggests; discusses examples with the intensifying modifier fucking and the attributive damn. The brief note is part of an extra issue that includes a target article by Potts on expressives and insightful commentaries by different scholars.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Morzycki, Marcin. 2008. Nonrestrictive modifiers in nonparenthetical positions. In Adjectives and adverbs: Syntax, semantics, and discourse. Edited by Louise McNally and Christopher Kennedy, 101–122. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Highlights that adverbial and adnominal modifiers are interpreted nonrestrictively only in pre-head positions; he argues that nonrestrictive modifiers predicate of a definite description that is restricted by contextual information. Elaborating on the multidimensional approach of Potts 2005, proposes a new semantic rule called “expressive predicate modification”; notably, this rule is sensitive to linear order.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Potts, Christopher. 2005. The logic of conventional implicatures. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Extensive and much discussed argument in favor of treating conventional implicatures as a separate meaning dimension apart from conversational implicatures, presuppositions, intonational meaning, and ordinary at-issue content. The discussion rests heavily on the meaning contribution of various modification structures—notably appositives, sentential adverbs, and expressive adjectives.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Schlenker, Philippe. 2013. Supplements within a unidimensional semantics II: Epistemic status and projection. In Proceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (NELS). Vol. 2. NELS 40. Edited by Seda Kan, Claire Moore-Cantwell, and Robert Staubs, 167–182. Amherst: GLSA, Univ. of Massachusetts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Argues, in contrast to Potts 2005, for a unidimensional treatment of appositive relative clauses: semantically they are conjoined but pragmatically their contents can be easily accommodated, which renders them, similar to presuppositions, locally trivial. Draws on evidence provided by scope and projection patterns of appositive relative clauses in French and English.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Shaer, Benjamin. 2003. “Manner” adverbs and the association theory: Some problems and solutions. In Modifying adjuncts. Edited by Ewald Lang, Claudia Maienborn and Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen, 211–259. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1515/9783110894646Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Defends the view that the interpretation of manner adverbs obeys syntactic conditions (see for opposing perspectives Wyner 1994 and Wyner 2008, cited under Verb-Related Adverbials). Also discusses fronted, parenthetical, and afterthought adverbs (e.g., John kissed Mary, rudely); argues that these are not properly integrated sentential constituents and thus beyond a strict syntax-semantics mapping.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Meaning Adaptations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It is well-known that a simple intersective analysis of modifiers very often conflicts with the data (see examples such as sneeze for two hours, where the modifier enforces an iterative interpretation of the basic semelfactive verb). Broadly speaking, there are two directions in reconciling this situation with compositional principles: underspecification and coercion. Both Blutner 1998 and Dölling 2003 are key representations of underspecification analyses that assume only partially determined semantic representations to be filled by pragmatic reasoning. A related approach is developed by Egg 2005, who pays much attention to a precise, but flexible syntax-semantics interface, spelled out in terms of a constraint language for lambda structures. A bias toward coercive mechanisms can be attributed to the groundbreaking paper on aspectual adaptations Moens and Steedman 1988—see as well the recent overview of type adjustments in de Swart 2011. Coercion and fine-grained lexical information also play a crucial role both in Pustejovsky 1995, a seminal qualia-based approach, and in Asher 2011, which develops a powerful type composition logic in order to capture various instances of meaning adaptations. A route that differs from both the underspecification and coercion approaches overviewed so far is taken by van Lambalgen and Hamm 2005, which develops a planning account where (re)interpretation of aspectual information is modeled as the construction of plans that successfully integrate new sentence information into the previous discourse context. Notably, the observation that natural language allows for meaning adjustments within certain limits has stimulated remarkable psycholinguistic research—see the section Psycholinguistics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Asher, Nicholas. 2011. Lexical meaning in context: A web of words. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511793936Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Provides a comprehensive reevaluation of lexical meaning and its crucial role within the dynamics of predication; it opposes both qualia-based and purely pragmatic approaches. Logical forms are assumed to include presuppositional types that, in case of conflict, license well-defined meaning adjustments. The proposal tackles various attributive and adverbial modification structures.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Blutner, Reinhard. 1998. Lexical pragmatics. Journal of Semantics 15.2: 115–162.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1093/jos/15.2.115Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Based on radically underspecified semantics, develops a formally explicit model of pragmatic strengthening. This combines abductive reasoning with a precise conception of conversational implicatures in terms of constraints on common ground updates. The proposal is applied inter alia to adjectival modification.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • de Swart, Henriëtte. 2011. Mismatches and coercion. In Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning. Vol. 1. Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn, and Paul Portner, 574–597. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Easily accessible overview of type-coercion phenomena, including those related to modifiers. Outlines in more detail aspectual coercion and its treatment within discourse representation theory. Includes an outlook on psycholinguistic and crosslinguistic studies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Dölling, Johannes. 2003. Flexibility in adverbal modification: Reinterpretation as contextual enrichment. In Modifying adjuncts. Edited by Ewald Lang, Claudia Maienborn, and Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen, 511–552. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1515/9783110894646Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Captures situation type flexibility induced by temporal modification in terms of a strictly compositional semantic skeleton that includes underspecified parameters amenable to contextual enrichment. This pragmatic account opposes qualia- and type coercion-based approaches—see Pustejovsky 1995 and Moens and Steedman 1988. The analysis extends to non-temporal modifiers and secondary predications.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Egg, Markus. 2005. Flexible semantics for reinterpretation phenomena. Stanford, CA: CSLI.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Traces reinterpretation phenomena back to underspecified semantic representations that are controlled by lexical information and syntax-semantics interface rules, but also open for adequate completions by extralinguistic means. Embraces a wide range of data and a particularly clear discussion of former approaches; argues for distinguishing type and landing site coercion.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Moens, Marc, and Mark Steedman. 1988. Temporal ontology and temporal reference. In Special issue: Tense and aspect. Edited by James F. Allen. Computational Linguistics 14.2: 15–28.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pioneering work on situation type flexibility as exemplified by, for example, to arrive late for several days. Argues for a type coercion approach: temporal means (adverbial modifiers, but also the perfect and the progressive) are treated as functions that select for specific situation types and license transitions between them.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Pustejovsky, James. 1995. The Generative Lexicon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Based on a critical assessment of sense enumeration models, extensively argues for rooting lexical semantics within a generative lexicon. The crucial role of qualia structures (capturing predication modes of lexemes) and of operations such as, for example, type coercion has stimulated controversial discussions. Tackles a wide range of phenomena, including adjectival modification.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • van Lambalgen, Michiel, and Fritz Hamm. 2005. The proper treatment of events. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Comprehensive introduction to the logic theory of the event calculus. Tackles both foundational issues of event ontology (see as well section Foundational Theoretical Perspectives) and details of formalization; includes exercises. The theory is applied to the analysis of tense, aspect(ual classes), and nominalization; provides for a planning account of aspectual coercion.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Psycholinguistics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pylkkänen and McElree 2006 surveys psycho- and neurolinguistic research on the question of how compositional operations as functional application and predicate modification are reflected in on-line natural language processing; they note that such research on compositionality is in many ways still in its infancy. Special attention is paid to meaning adjustments as exemplified by modifiers that trigger aspectual coercion (see Meaning Adaptations). Piñango, et al. 1999 was the first to systematically deal with aspectual coercion from a psycholinguistic perspective; the authors’ approach and findings in favor of coercion proper have been challenged by Pickering, et al. 2006. An extensive argument that details both theoretical and empirical issues is presented in Bott 2010, which considerably advances research on the processing of aspectual coercion by investigating a much wider range of phenomena than previous studies, distinguishing subtypes of aspectual coercion, and sensibly pondering conclusions about theoretical models. For those interested in foundational issues of the syntactic parsing of modifiers, the introduction to the so-called construal hypothesis in Frazier and Clifton 1997 provides a good starting point. Frazier, et al. 2008 ties in with the theoretical discussion on Degree Modifiers (see also section Degree Modification); their work is noteworthy from a methodological point of view because it explicitly addresses the question of whether semantic information is an integral part of automatic processing. Although focused on absolute adjectives, Frazier, et al. 2008 also includes a very brief review of psycholinguistic research on vague predicates. Syrett and Lidz 2010 is concerned with adjectival scales as well; it is a representative source for a fruitful exchange between theoretically informed linguistics and research on language acquisition in the case of modification.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bott, Oliver. 2010. The Processing of Events. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1075/la.162Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Comprehensive study that considerably advances theoretical and psycholinguistic research on the processing of events. Applies various psycholinguistic methodologies to a wide range of aspectual phenomena; distinguishes among additive coercion, subtractive coercion, and abstract type shift. Argues that planning accounts (see van Lambalgen and Hamm 2005, cited under Meaning Adaptations) can best explain differential processing effects.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Frazier, Lyn, and Charles Clifton Jr. 1997. Construal: Overview, motivation and some new evidence. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 26.3: 277–295.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1023/A:1025024524133Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Succinct introduction to the so-called construal hypothesis; its underlying assumption—only lexically nonselected phrases are integrated via underspecified association with current thematic domains—renders it a particularly suitable framework for exploring the syntactic parsing of modifiers. The survey discusses results from studies on relative clauses and adverbial clauses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Frazier, Lyn, Charles Clifton Jr., and Britta Stolterfoht. 2008. Scale structure: Processing minimum standard and maximum standard scalar adjectives. Cognition 106:299–324.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2007.02.004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Two speeded acceptability judgment studies show that the scale structure of absolute adjectives predicts the distribution of degree modifiers—see Kennedy and McNally 2005, cited under Degree Modifiers. Two further studies (eye movement study, paraphrase selection task) indicate that the relevant scales are processed automatically, and are thus part of sentential composition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Pickering, Martin J., Brian McElree, Steven Frisson, Lillian Chen, and Matthew J. Traxler. 2006. Underspecification and aspectual coercion. Discourse Processes 42.2: 131–155.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1207/s15326950dp4202_3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Based on self-paced reading and eye-tracking studies that militate against aspectually conditioned processing costs, argues that the converse findings of previous studies using the same material (e.g., Piñango, et al. 1999) follow from their questionable employment of secondary tasks; defends the view that aspectual coercion involves underspecification and contrasts with complement coercion that impedes processing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Piñango, Maria M., Edgar Zurif, and Ray Jackendoff. 1999. Real-time processing implications of enriched composition at the syntax-semantics interface. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 28.4: 395–414.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1023/A:1023241115818Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Argues, based on a lexical decision task within the dual-task interference paradigm, that iterative coercion (e.g., she jumped until dawn) is computationally costly; concludes that aspectual coercion amounts to a semantic repair operation that takes part in real-time comprehension.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Pylkkänen, Liina, and Brian McElree. 2006. The syntax-semantics interface: On-line composition of sentence meaning. In Handbook of Psycholinguistics. 2d ed. Edited by Morton A. Gernsbacher and Matthew J. Traxler, 539–579. Boston: Elsevier Academic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Proceeding from compositional operations as defined by formal semantics (see Defining Modification), overviews psycho- and neurolinguistic research on on-line meaning composition. Discusses the processing of arguments and modifiers; pays special attention to adaptive mechanisms that go beyond straightforward composition (e.g., aspectual coercion).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Syrett, Kristen, and Jeffrey Lidz. 2010. 30-month-olds use the distribution and meaning of adverbs to interpret novel adjectives. Language Learning and Development 6.4: 258–282.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1080/15475440903507905Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Degree modifiers are sensitive to the scalar structure of their adjectival host (see Kennedy and McNally 2005, cited under Degree Modifiers). The authors argue, based on word-learning experimentation, that thirty-month-olds take advantage of this sensitivity in the aquisition of new adjectives. Indicates the foundational role that fine-grained scalar structures play for adjectival semantics.

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