The rich internal structure of gradable adjectives: Evidence from diminutive adjectives in Czech
Guido Vanden Wyngaerd, Pavel Caha, Karen De Clercq
April 2024

The chapter provides evidence from Czech for the existence of at least three functional heads in a gradable adjective (Vanden Wyngaerd et al. 2020). The heads are (i) a dimension dim (such as speed), (ii) a direction dir (distinguishing antonymous adjectives such as fast vs. slow), and (iii) a standard of comparison, abbreviated as point. Evidence for this rich internal structure comes from the morphology of positive-degree adjectives, which can be morphologically complex, showing either the suffix n or k. These morphemes interact differently with the diminutive morpheme ouč, with n preceding the diminutive, and k following it. This indicates that n and k occupy two different positions. When we consider the position for the root in addition, we have three positions for the adjective in total. Based on the distribution of the adjectival suffixes n and k in the comparative, we furthermore distinguish six different classes of adjectives. Using a nanosyntactic approach (Starke 2018), we argue that this complex distribution can be accounted for by assuming a decomposition of the comparative into three different heads, the idea that roots vary in size, and the existence of lexical items with complex left branches (Blix 2022).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/008079
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: submitted to Cavirani, Edo and Vyshnevska, Anastasiia (eds.): On degrees: decomposing the semantics and morphosyntax of scalarity
keywords: adjectives, diminutives, comparative, nanosyntax, czech, semantics, morphology, syntax
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