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Workshop on Scalar Meaning

Atelicity and Measure Phrases: Licensing Measure Phrase Modification Across AP, PP, and VP
Marcin Morzycki

May 19, 2006
Michigan State University

This talk relates two issues normally considered separately: the licensing conditions on AP- and PP-modifying measure phrases (such as 'six feet' in 'six feet above the barn') and the atelicity restriction imposed by certain temporal adverbials. These questions are given a common answer: both classes of expressions are subject to an independently- motivated cross-categorial monotonicity condition on measure-phrase modification, the Modification Condition (Zwarts and Winter 2000, Winter 2001, 2004) of Vector Space Semantics. To make this connection, the vector space approach is extended to temporal semantics and independent evidence is marshaled for assimilating some temporal adverbials to measure phrases. I will also pursue a cross-categorial syntax and semantics for measure-phrase modification that may blunt certain arguments in favor of the ontological enrichments advocated in Vector Space Semantics.