On degree minimizers in Spanish
Keywords:degree modiifier, minimizer, coercion, copular verb, copulae, comparison class, granularity, gradable adjective
The goal of this paper is to provide both a description and an explanation of the combination of minimizers (ligeramente 'slightly') with gradable adjectives in Spanish. According to Kennedy & McNally (2005) these elements are degree items that are sensitive to the scalar structure of adjectives and are combined with closed scale, minimum standard adjectives. Unexpected combinations, according to this semantics, are considered as cases of coercion. In this paper we propose that minimizers create derived adjectives. They are modifiers of the adjective's granularity, which allow the selection of the standard of comparison to take into account a greater number of degree distinctions. From this proposal, this article shows that unexpected combinations of ligeramente with gradable adjectives, such as un cine ligeramente lleno ‘a slightly crowded cinema’, can be explained without the need to propose that a coercion process takes place.
Asher, Nicholas, and Michael Morreau. 1995. What generic sentences mean. In The generic book, eds. Gregory Carlson and Francis Jeffry Pelletier, 300–338. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bogal-Allbritten, Elizabeth. 2012. Slightly coerced: Processing evidence for adjectival coercion by minimizers. The 48th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bylinina, Lisa. 2012. Funcional Standars and the absolute/relative distinction. In Ana Aguilar-Guevara, A. Chernilovskaya & Rick Nouwen (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 16, 141–157. Cambridge: MITWPL.
Bylinina, Lisa. 2014. The Grammar of Standards Judge-dependence, Purpose-relativity, and Comparison Classes in Degree Constructions. Utrecht: Universiteit Utrecht.
Bylinina, Lisa. 2016. Judge-Dependence in Degree Constructions. Journal of Semantics, 34:2, 291-331. doi: 10.1093/jos/ffw011.
Fults, Scott. 2006. The structure of comparison: an investigation of gradable adjectives. PhD diss., University of Maryland, College Park.
Gumiel-Molina, Silvia, Norberto Moreno-Quibén & Isabel Pérez-Jiménez. 2015. Comparison classes and the relative/absolute distinction: a degree-based compositional account of the ser/estar alternation in Spanish. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 33(3). 955–1001.
Kagan, Olga & Sascha Alexeyenko. 2011. Degree modification in Russian morphology: The case of the suffix-ovat. Proceedings of Sinn & Bedeutung, vol. 15, 321–335.
Kennedy, Christopher & Louise McNally. 2005. Scale Structure, Degree Modification, and the Semantics of Gradable Predicates. Language 81 (2). 345–381.
Kennedy, Cristopher. 1999. Projecting the adjective: the syntax and semantics of gradability and comparison. Outstanding dissertations in linguistics. New York: Garland.
Kennedy, Cristopher. 2007. Vagueness and grammar: the semantics of relative and absolute gradable adjectives. Linguistics and Philosophy 30: 1–45.
Neeleman, Ad, Hans van de Koot & Jenny Doetjes. 2004. Degree expressions, The Linguistic Review, 21: 1, 1-66. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tlir.2004.001
Sassoon, Galit & Natalia Zevakhina. 2014. Degree modifiers: A new perspective on their semantics and the role of stress in it, ms.
Sassoon, Galit & Robert van Rooij. 2015. The Semantics and Pragmatics of for Phrases. Bar Ilan University, ms.
Sawada, Osamu & Thomas Grano. 2011. Scale structure, coercion, and the interpretation of measure phrases in Japanese. Natural Language Semantics 19(2). 191–226.
Sawada, Osamu (2018). Pragmatic aspects of scalar modifiers: the semantics-pragmatics interface. Oxford linguistics 69. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Solt, Stephanie. 2011. Notes on the comparison class. In Vagueness in Communication (ViC) 2009, revised selected papers, eds. Rick Nowen, Robert van Rooij, Uli Sauerland, and Hans-Christian Schmitz. Vol. 6571 of LNA, 189–206. Berlin: Springer.
Solt, Stephanie. 2012. Comparison to arbitrary standards. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung, 16, eds. Ana Aguilar Guevara, Anna Chernilovskaya, and Rick Nouwen, Vol. 2, 557–570. Cambridge: MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.
Stanley, Jason. 2000. Context and logical form. Linguistics and Philosophy 23(4): 391–434.
Toledo, Assaf & Galit W. Sassoon. 2011. Absolute vs. Relative Adjectives – Variance Within vs. Between Individuals. Proceedings of SALT 21. 135–154.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).