-Er nominals usually obey the External Argument Generalization: the argument of the nominal receives the thematic role that the verb assigns to its external argument. I argue that this syntactic generalization, as well as the exceptions to it, can be explained by semantics. Specifically, -er nominals usually express properties that are inherent in the subject; I argue that they therefore belong to the class of expressions that express such properties—dynamic modals. Crucially, dynamic modals are subject oriented; hence, the proposal that -er nominals are dynamic modals naturally provides an account of the External Argument Generalization.
- -Er nominals
- Dynamic modals
- External argument generalization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics