Quantity and gradability across categories

M. Ryan Bochnak


This paper proposes a unified analysis of scalar modifiers across the adjec- tival, nominal and verbal domains, with a special focus on the proportional modifier half in English. I claim that half has a scalar meaning in all the environments in which it appears. Specifically, I show that in partitive and event-modifying uses, half targets a quantity-based scale whose scale structure crucially depends on the part structure of a nominal argument, just like many adjectival cases. To formalize the analysis, I extend the degree-based analysis of Kennedy & McNally (2005) for gradable adjectives to partitives and VPs headed by incremental theme verbs, with some discussion of compounding uses of half with both nouns and verbs.


gradability; scale structure; part structure; event structure

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