Saturation and Reification in Adjectival Diathesis

Idan Landau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The study of adjectival diathesis alternations lags behind the study of verbal diathesis and nominalization. This paper aims to diminish the gap by applying to the adjectival domain theoretical tools with proven success elsewhere. We focus on evaluative adjectives, which display a systematic alternation between a basic variant (John was rude) and a derived one (That was rude of John). The alternation brings about a cluster of syntactic and semantic changes in the semantic type of the predicate, its valency and the mode of argument projection. We argue that the adjectival variants are related by the joint application of two operators: a lexical saturation operator (also seen in verbal passive) and a syntactic reification operator (also seen in nominalization). The analysis straightforwardly extends to similar alternations with Subject- and Object-Experiencer adjectives (proud, irritating). Among its important implications are (i) lexical saturation is not restricted to external arguments (internal ones may also be saturated), and (ii) referential (R) roles are not restricted to nominal predicates (adjectives may assign them as well).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-361
Number of pages47
JournalJournal of Linguistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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