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This book considers the syntax and semantics of non-verbal predicates (i.e., nominal, adjectival and prepositional predicates) in copular sentences. Isabelle Roy explores how a single structure for predication can account for the different interpretations of non-verbal predicates. The book departs from earlier studies by arguing in favor of a ternary distinction between defining / characterizing / situation-descriptive predicates rather than the more common stage-level/individualdistinction. The distinction is based on two semantic criteria, namely maximality (i.e., whether the predicate describes an eventuality that has spatio-temporal properties or not) and density (i.e. whether the spatio-temporal properties are perceived as atomic or not). The author argues in favor of astrong correlation between the semantics properties of predicates and their internal syntactic structure. Her analysis accounts for seemingly unrelated cross-linguistic data: the indefinite article in French, the distribution of the two copulas 'ser'/'estar' in Spanish, and case marking on Russian predicates.
Isabelle Roy is an Associate Professor at the Unversity of Paris 8. She received her PhD from the University of Southern California in 2006.
Table of Contents
I Predicational copular sentences at the syntax-semantics interface
2. Predication, non-verbal stative predicates and copular sentences
II Meanings and structures
3. Meaning and typology of non-verbal predicates
4. Internal syntax of non-verbal predicates
III Further analysis
5. The case of the Russian copula
6. Spanish multiple 'be'
7. Irish multiple 'be' and genericity