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Adjectives and Relative Clauses: Syntax and Semantics
Adjectives and relative clauses have received a lot of attention in the recent (and no so recent) syntactic and semantic literature, but there are many unresolved issues and controversies concerning the two kinds of noun modifiers.
On the syntactic side, various different analyses of adjective modifiers have been proposed, as heads of the extended projection of N, as phrasal specifiers of dedicated functional projections, as predicates of reduced relative clauses, or as a combination of these. Also relative clauses have been analyzed in various ways, as clausal complements of a determiner, as clauses predicated of a projection of N, or as clausal specifiers in the nominal extended projection. There are also different views concerning the head of relative clauses: just one head internal to the relative clause (as on the "raising" analysis) or two heads, one external and one internal to the relative clause (as on the "matching" analysis).
On the semantic side, there is a standard analysis of adjective and relative clause modifiers, namely as expressions whose denotation, in general, is intersected with that of the head noun. Such a view, however, faces a range of challenges, for example from ???relative clauses of the third kind’, such as amount relatives and internally headed relatives, and a range of semantic differences that can be observed between adjectives that modify nouns directly and adjectives acting as predicates, as in (reduced or unreduced) relative clause constructions. Moreover, the standard analysis does not seem to give justice to the syntactic structures that have more recently been proposed for noun phrases as well as to semantic differences between nouns and adjectives, such as the sortal-nonsortal distinction.
The aim of the conference is to promote a discussion among syntacticians and semanticists on the different syntactic and semantic analyses of adjective and relative clause constructions and most importantly on the connection between syntactic structures involving adjectives or relative clauses and their semantic interpretation.
- Mark Baker (Rutgers University)
- Guiglielmo Cinque (University of Venice)
- Jim Higginbotham (University of Southern California)
- Richard Kayne (New York University)
- Louise McNally (University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)
- Friederike Moltmann (IHPST (Paris1/ENS/CNRS), Paris).