Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka and Anne Nguyen, 2023.
“Pre- and post-predicate degree morphemes in Vietnamese: Heads vs phrases.”
Presented at LSA 97.
Degree morphemes in Vietnamese may precede or follow their gradable predicate: e.g. rất ‘very’ precedes and nhất ‘most’ follows. We argue that these two classes of expressions differ significantly in their syntax and semantics: Pre-predicate degree morphemes are functional heads in the predicate’s extended projection whereas post-predicate degree morphemes are heads of phrasal modifiers. The latter form degree quantifiers which must move to take scope; this movement must be overt and to the right, deriving their post-predicate word order. We also explain differences between the two classes of items in their ability to introduce arguments and participate in scope ambiguities, and in their behavior in descriptions of nominal quantity.