Morzycki, Marcin. 2013. ‘The Lexical Semantics of Adjectives: More Than Just Scales’. This is a chapter of an in-preparation book to be called Modification (in the Cambridge University Press series Key Topics in Semantics an Pragmatics). The book is something between a textbook for people with a basic background in semantics and an introductory survey of work on the semantics of modification. More information about the whole project and additional chapters are also available. I’d really appreciate any feedback on this. BibTeX

One could be forgiven for getting the impression that the semantics of adjectives is, above all, the semantics of scales. Yet this would be a misimpression, as this chapter strives to demonstrate. It is about the lexical semantics of adjectives, but it is not about scales. Section 2 presents a typology of adjectives according the effect they have on nouns they modify. Section 3 sketches various theoretical approaches that shed light on that typology. Section 4 begins the exploration of particular analytically-tractable classes of adjectives, focusing on adjectives that interact in interesting ways with their nouns. Section 5 continues the exploration of adjective classes, but shifts the focus to adjectives with surprising scope properties. Finally, section 6 considers additional issues closely linked to the syntax of adjectives, including their relative order and the positions they can occupy.

modification, adjectives, subsective modifiers, lexical semantics, variation, adverbial readings of adjectives, predicate modifiers, frequency adjectives, attributive adjectives, predicative adjectives