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According to Chomsky's X-bar Theory, it is possible to treat "a beautiful girl" as an adjective phrase?

asked 2019-11-14 12:44:54 -0400

anniezhao0403 gravatar image

I am really confused and extremely dubious of the statement of my teacher in class today. She said, according to Chomsky's X bar theory, "a beautiful girl’ can be analyzed as an adjective phrase. I really appreciate if anyone can tell me whether it is true or not.

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answered 2020-03-12 22:33:00 -0400

ksteimel gravatar image

With the prevalence of DP-based nominals in most modern generative syntactic frameworks, I don't think you would still do it this way.

Potentially though, you could say that adjectives need a noun complement and a determiner specifier. I'm just hazarding a guess though as I've never heard it analyzed that way.

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answered 2019-11-15 07:27:35 -0400

Mana gravatar image

Hi, I cannot answer to this directly, but I am also curious about why it is possible that an adjective can be positioned before a noun in English, as a head initial language. How did your teacher explain this by the way? If DP can have ADJP as its complement, it seems to be possible but usually DP has NP as its complement, I think.

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I believe usually this is framed as a difference between head complement ordering and head adjunct ordering. A language can have adjuncts before the head but complements after.

ksteimel gravatar imageksteimel ( 2020-03-12 22:29:17 -0400 )edit
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Asked: 2019-11-14 12:44:54 -0400

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