Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 April 2010
In this paper we focus on the ability of Argument Supporting Nominalizations (ASNs) to realize morphological plural. We think that this aspect of their behavior is instrumental in our understanding of their properties and their syntax within one language and across languages. Our factual investigation deals with Romanian, English, German and Spanish, as well as Polish and Bulgarian ASNs. We show that the interplay between the aspectual properties – either inner or outer aspect – and the nominal/verbal characteristics, as justifying the internal structure of ASNs, allows us to characterize the ability of ASNs to accept plural marking across languages. We further argue for a flexible syntactic theory that enables us to capture the mixed properties of ASNs. We provide evidence for two parameters of variation. The first parameter is whether ASNs involve a nominalizer or not. If a nominalizer is not included, ASNs lack nominal internal properties. If a nominalizer is included, the second parameter comes into play and allows for language variation with respect to the height of attachment of the nominalizer. Specifically, a nominalizer can attach to (and thus nominalize) distinct layers of syntactic structure (VP vs. AspectP).
We thank the editors and two anonymous JL referees for stimulating comments and suggestions. We also thank Barbara Citko for suggesting the investigation of Slavic languages, and to Joanna Błaszczak, Adrian Krastev, Stela Manova, Angelina Markova, Gergana Popova, Bożena Rozwadowska, Elena Stefanova and Beata Trawiński for providing us with the Polish and Bulgarian data. Alexiadou and Iordăchioaia's contribution has been supported by a DFG [German Research Foundation] grant to the project B1, The Formation and Interpretation of Derived Nominals, as part of the Collaborative Research Center 732, Incremental Specification in Context, at the University of Stuttgart.