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CSLI Publications

(De)Selecting Arguments for Transitive and Predicated Nominals

John Lowe


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Transitive nominals, that is nouns or adjectives that syntactically govern object arguments, are typologically rare and in some respects problematic. I show that in some languages, syntactic context can restrict the transitivity of transitive nominal categories; specifically, there is a clear association between predication and nominal transitivity, such that nominals can only be transitive when predicated. I develop a formal model of this restriction, bsed on the assumption that it should be specified syntactically, rather than lexically; I also consider the selectional properties of copular clauses more generally.

Link to pdf of paper

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