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On 'Nominal Non-Predicating' Adjectives in English


Steffi George

The study tries to show - on the basis of a large collection of data - that the labelling of adjectives such as environmental, nuclear, linguistic, urban as 'nominal, non-preicating' does not adequately account for observable language behaviour. 'Lexicalized' terms such as polar bear behave like unitary nouns, but otherwise these adjectives can well be found in predicative position; they may also accept adverbial modification. Various syntactic tests demonstrate that attempts to explain predicative occurrences as resulting from ellipsis, from Head Noun Deletion, fail in a large number of cases. The conclusion reached in this thesis is that the adjectives in question cannot generally be considered 'attributive-only'.
Contents: U.a. Surface category label N - Productive processes vs. lexicalization - Focus of information - Extra-linguistic reasons - Squishy categories - Dynamic synchrony.