Adjective Placement

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1 Scopus citations


This chapter analyzes the syntactic and semantic properties of Spanish attributive adjectives. More concretely, I investigate the position of Spanish attributive adjectives within the nominal construction, their internal structure and their order relative to the noun and to other adjectives and constituents in the nominal expressions. The results of the examination of the Spanish facts strongly suggest that the different types of adjectives enter in different positions in the derivation. Therefore, I argue for the need of a non-uniform theory of adjectives in the nominal expressions, and propose that some adjectives are generated as adjuncts while some other adjectives are generated as specifiers, depending on their semantic properties. More concretely, I claim that prenominal attributive adjectives (i.e., adjectives that do not combine directly with the noun that they modify and must move to get their interpretation) are generated as the specifier of NP, while postnominal attributive adjectives (i.e., adjectives that combine directly with the N that they modify and remain in situ in LF) are adjoined to NP. Moreover, relational adjectives, which behave as PP arguments, will receive a treatment similar to PP arguments. The adoption of the multiple generation sites for adjectives explains a number of facts and properties of adjectives without postulating the application of syntactic mechanisms, such as N or NP movement, to derive the properties of adjectives in this language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStudies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages42
StatePublished - 2010

Publication series

NameStudies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory
ISSN (Print)0924-4670
ISSN (Electronic)2215-0358


  • Linear Order
  • Relative Clause
  • Romance Language
  • Semantic Property
  • Specific Reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics


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