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Participles and Adjectives in Hungarian and English DPs Revisited

Tibor Laczkó


The paper will address the following main question. Are all the formally participial (verbal) elements modifying NP heads in English adjectives or do they (or any of them) retain their original participial (verbal) category? Interestingly, in recent approaches it seems to be a strong tendency to consider these prenominal (and, often, even postnominal) participial modifiers to be adjectives uniformly in English. In these works, the explicitly stated or tacitly assumed generalization is that participles obligatorily undergo participle => adjective conversion prior to being used as modifiers in NPs. On the basis of a systematic comparison of the relevant English and Hungarian data, I will challenge this view and I will propose a more articulated analysis of the relevant English phenomena. I will argue that under clearly definable circumstances even prenominal modifiers must be taken to be participles and not adjectives and, consequently, two separate rules are needed: one for capturing the use of participial modifiers in NPs and another for accounting for participle => adjective conversion. In the last section of the paper, I will discuss some major theoretical consequences of these empirical generalizations.

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