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Syntax and its Limits$
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Raffaella Folli, Christina Sevdali, and Robert Truswell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199683239

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199683239.001.0001

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Still Puzzled by Adjectival Passives? *

Still Puzzled by Adjectival Passives? *

(p.175) 10 Still Puzzled by Adjectival Passives?*
Syntax and its Limits

Berit Gehrke

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses by-phrases with German adjectival passives and shows that such phrases, when they are event-related, crucially differ from by-phrases with verbal passives. In particular, only a subset of the by-phrases that are acceptable with verbal passives are also acceptable with adjectival passives, and furthermore those with adjectival passives do not introduce a discourse referent. Based on the general restrictions on event-related modification with adjectival passives, it is argued that German adjectival passives refer to the instantiation of a consequent state kind of an event kind, and that, as a consequence, event participants of such event kinds do not get instantiated but remain in the kind domain as well. The overall generalization that emerges is that by-phrases with adjectival passives are acceptable only if they modify either the event kind (naming an established subkind) or the (consequent) state token (which is only possible with stative verbs). The key idea underlying this proposal is that (re-)categorization of verbal structure as an adjective has consequences for the semantic nature of the underlying event: it does not get instantiated but remains in the kind domain. This idea is expected to have repercussions for the analysis of other non-verbal categories that have been argued to contain verbal structure, such as nominalizations.

Keywords:   adjectival passive, event, kind, modification, external argument

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