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Appropriate Nouns with Obligatory Modifiers

Abstract : The notion of appropriate sequence as introduced by Z. Harris provides a powerful syntactic way of analysing the detailed meaning of various sentences, including ambiguous ones. In an adjectival sentence like 'The leather was yellow', the introduction of an appropriate noun, here 'colour', specifies which quality the adjective describes. In some other adjectival sentences with an appropriate noun, that noun plays the same part as 'colour' and seems to be relevant to the description of the adjective. These appropriate nouns can usually be used in elementary sentences like 'The leather had some colour', but in many cases they have a more or less obligatory modifier. For example, you can hardly mention that an object has a colour without qualifying that colour at all. About 300 French nouns are appropriate in at least one adjectival sentence and have an obligatory modifier. They enter in a number of sentence structures related by several syntactic transformations. The appropriateness of the noun and the fact that the modifier is obligatory are reflected in these transformations. The description of these syntactic phenomena provides a basis for a classification of these nouns. It also concerns the lexical properties of thousands of predicative adjectives, and in particular the relations between the sentence without the noun : 'The leather was yellow' and the adjectival sentence with the noun : 'The colour of the leather was yellow'.
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  • HAL Id : hal-00636980, version 1
  • ARXIV : 1207.4625

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Eric Laporte. Appropriate Nouns with Obligatory Modifiers. Language Research, 1995, 31 (2), pp.251-289. ⟨hal-00636980v1⟩

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