Measure Phrases and the syntax of Romanian nouns and adjectives Cover Image

Measure Phrases and the syntax of Romanian nouns and adjectives
Measure Phrases and the syntax of Romanian nouns and adjectives

Author(s): Alexandra Cornilescu
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti
Keywords: measure phrases; monotonic constructions; partitivity; dimensional nouns; (in)direct measure phrase modification

Summary/Abstract: The paper examines the syntax and interpretation of measure phrases (=MPs) inside Romanian DPs and APs. The MP construction is trans-categorial, so that an understanding of its semantic properties is welcome. Following Schwarzschild (2006), we suggest that MPs are means of measuring out monotonic dimensions in the lexical structure of adjectives, nouns, PPs, etc. Monotonic constructions constitute a family, prototypically represented by the cardinal numerals, but also by partitive and pseudo -partitive constructions. The existence of shared formal elements in all monotonic constructions suggests the presence of a shared functional category, called the Mon(otonicity) P(hrase). Its head, Mon0 relates a lexical category in its complement with a MP in its specifier. Not all MPs receive a partitive monotonic interpretation. The interpretation of MPs inside DPs shows a difference between Partitive MPs, which track monotonic dimensions of objects (doi centimetri de sfoară ‘two centimeters of rope’), and Attributive MPs, which describe dimensional non-monotonic properties of objects (găleată de zece litri ‘ten liters bucket’). In the second part of the paper, a detailed description of the internal structure of DPs and APs which contain MPs is given, starting from the premise that the two interpretations of the MP, partitive and attributive, respectively, might correspond to two different configurations.

  • Issue Year: 2009
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 35-67
  • Page Count: 32
  • Language: English