Morphology of direct modification

Akiko Nagano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The distinction between direct and indirect modification has been widely discussed from semantic and syntactic viewpoints; however, this paper focuses on its morphological aspects. The core empirical observation is that morphologically complex adjectives are attributive-only when they have phrasal semantics. It will be argued that phrasal indirect modifiers alternate with non-projecting direct modifiers such as three-foot-long (pole), cellular (structure), and preadverbial (expression) because of the syntax of direct modification. This morphological alternation, which involves various incorporating patterns, is akin to inflection in its syntactic motivation. The close relationship between direct modification and attributive compounding, on the other hand, will be shown to be diachronic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-150
Number of pages40
JournalEnglish Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Attributive Modification
  • Lexicalization
  • Morphophonology
  • Morphosyntax
  • Paradigm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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