Nominal Modification

The Graduate School on Nominal Modification at the University of Frankfurt

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Colloquium: Heidi Klockmann

Our new postdoc, Heidi Klockmann, will give a talk on May 29th, at 4pm in SH 3.104.
TitleFrom N to Q: The morphosyntax of Polish and English quantificational expressions
Abstract:
Quantificational expressions like numerals (two, three, a hundred), quantifiers (a few, a dozen), and pseudopartitives (a bunch, a lot, a ton) often show a surface resemblance to the lexical category noun. In Polish, for example, numerals 5 and 1000 require the quantified noun to surface with the genitive ((1), (2)), like a binominal expression (compare (3)):
(1) Pięć ptaków
Five birds.GEN
‘Five birds’
(2) Tysiąc ptaków
Thousand birds.GEN
‘A thousand birds’
(3) Klucz ptaków
Key birds.GEN
‘A flock of birds (flying in a V)’
In English, similarities arise in the need for an indefinite article and a particle of: pseudopartitives require both (4), certain numerals and quantifiers only the indefinite (6), and other expressions, nothing at all (6).
(4) A bunch of birds
(5) A dozen birds
(6) Fifteen birds
In this talk, I discuss the morphosyntax of select Polish and English quantificational expressions, exploring their similarities to and differences from lexical nouns. I propose an analysis which decomposes the notion of “noun,” thereby allowing lexical items to have a subset of nominal properties; I illustrate how this can be used to account for the resemblance to nouns. I further suggest that such similarities may arise from a grammaticalization path from noun to quantifier.

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