Thursday 7 December – Norbert Corver

Speaker: Norbert Corver (UiL-OTS, Utrecht University)
Title: Getting imaginative with a brain full of adverbs
Date: Thursday 7 December
Venue: Van Eyckhof 3/002
Time: 15.15-16.30 hrs


Adverbs and adverbial expressions have played a somewhat subordinate role in the history of generative linguistics; see, though, Cinque’s (1999) seminal study on adverbs. Plausibly, this is due to their somewhat “elusive” nature. As has become clear from studies on adverbial syntax, the boundaries of the concept “adverb”, its grammatical characterization and its internal syntax are often unclear and not agreed upon by researchers (see among others Bowers 1975, Jackendoff 1977, Emonds 1985, Travis 1988, Baker 2003, Alexiadou 2013).

Many adverbs and adverbial expressions display “small elements” (functional material) whose status is not always immediately clear. In Dutch, for example, we find the element -s in adverbial expressions such as anders (other-s, ‘differently’) and straks (soon-s, ‘soon’). This -s also shows up in adverbial expressions such as voorzichtigjes (careful-dim-s, ‘carefully’), which features the diminutive morpheme -je besides the “adverbial” morpheme -s. And what about expressions like op z’n Trumps (at his Trump’s, ‘in a Trump-like way’), which display a possessive pronoun in combination with what superficially looks like a possessor noun phrase? Trying to be (as) imaginative (as rapper Eminem), I hope to give some insight into the linguistic nature and behavior of these small functional elements and this way also into the inner structure of adverbs/adverbial expressions.

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