ESTONIAN ACADEMY
PUBLISHERS
eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
PUBLISHED
SINCE 1965
 
Linguistica Uralica cover
Linguistica Uralica
ISSN 1736-7506 (Electronic)
ISSN 0868-4731 (Print)

Scalarity and Dimensionality across Categories. Estonian Pseudopartitive Constructions; pp. 22-40

Full article in PDF format | doi:10.3176/lu.2011.1.02

Author
Anne Tamm

Abstract
Estonian abstract nouns diverge in their morphosyntactic properties, and this reveals several new facts about the semantic structure of nouns and the nature of derivation. Although temperatuur ’temperature’ and soe ’warmth, heat’ are synonyms in Estonian, ’warmth’ can appear in pseudopartitive constructions (PPC), while ’temperature’ cannot (viis kraadi sooja/#temperatuuri ’five degrees above zero’). The article shows that the morphosyntactic behavior is sensitive to the lexical semantic meaning, namely, scalarity. If the lexical meaning of the noun encodes a degree along a dimension, then it can appear in a PPC (’warmth’). If the lexical meaning does not encode a degree, then the PPC is not possible (’temperature’). The degree structure of ’warmth’ is a feature derived from adjectives, an option unavailable for the noun ’temperature’.
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