[developers] MOD value in predicative only adjectives

Dan Flickinger danf at stanford.edu
Fri Apr 25 00:50:33 CEST 2014

Hi T.J. (and Woodley) -

As Woodley notes, there are two contexts in which predicative adjectives can appear: 
(1) in copula constructions as in |the ships are afloat|
(2) as postnominal modifiers as in |the ships afloat reappeared|

While you're right that the MOD value is unneeded for the copula use, that non-empty value is necessary for the postnominal use, since the ERG combines "ships" with "afloat" using a head-modifier construction.  Hence the boolean PRD feature is used to distinguish attributive from predicative adjectives, and not the MOD value.

Woodley's example |the dogs awake arise| might sound awkward, but |anyone awake at that hour must be crazy| is impeccable, suggesting that there is a "heaviness" element involved in the acceptability of single-word post-nominal adjectives, and hence maybe something about information structure is at play.  However, even the single-word ones can sound fine:
 |the only rooms available are doubles|
 |the first person awake was the old man|

As for Woodley's |I found the dogs awake|, this has several readings which may obscure the issue of postnominal modification -- one with the three-argument "find" as in |I found him (to be) amusing|, and one with transitive "find" and a "depictive" adjective, as in |I found the keys (while I was) blindfolded|.  Perhaps more to the immediate point is an example like |I fed the children awake at dawn an early breakfast|.  The awkwardness of |I fed the children awake an early breakfast| is, on my current view, not an issue of grammaticality, but something (mysterious) to do with pragmatics.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Woodley Packard" <sweaglesw at sweaglesw.org>
To: "T.J. Trimble" <trimblet at me.com>
Cc: developers at delph-in.net
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2014 2:16:32 PM
Subject: Re: [developers] MOD value in predicative only adjectives

Interesting question, T.J.; I would also like to know the answer to this one.  One side effect seems to be the prediction that the following string is grammatical:

The dogs awake arise.

i.e. the predicative-only adjective "awake" is allowed to modify post-nominally.  To me this is a surprising prediction; but maybe those on the list with more flexible minds won't have an issue with it.  Other constructions such as "I found the dogs awake." get their own analysis, with the "awake" predicate a scopal argument of "find," so they can't be the explanation here.


On Apr 24, 2014, at 1:57 PM, "T.J. Trimble" <trimblet at me.com> wrote:

> So, two related questions about the ERG or about these sort of constructions in other grammars/languages:
> 1) Are there any examples of the MOD value of these predicative only adjectives being utilized?
> 2) Is there any compelling reason to use PRD +/– to constrain this instead of MOD < >?

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