Umit Atlamaz

Rutgers University
Talk Title: 
Extending Greenberg’s Universal 20: Adjectives, Arguments and the NP
Event Type: 
Brown Bag Talk
Spring 2015
Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 1:00 pm
Seminar Room

Across languages, when N is final, the unmarked order is consistently arg>adj>np. There is no known language with an unmarked adj >arg>np order. In post-nominal position, both orders are attested: np>arg>adj and np>adj>arg. (1) illustrates unmarked word orders from four languages.


(1)       a. agent           theme              adj                   noun                Turkish

            b. agent           adj                   noun                theme              English

            c. noun            agent               theme              adj                   Kurmanji

            d. noun            adj                   agent               theme              Persian


The asymmetry discussed above is reminiscent of Cinque’s generalization on DP internal elements and is captured in a similar way, with a variety of movement types as proposed by Cinque (2005, 2010). The outcome of the analysis is instructive because it reveals that merging adjective modifiers of an NP before its arguments fares better on capturing the crosslinguistic facts in (1) than theories where arguments are merged first.