Event individuation by objects: Evidence from frequency adjectives


  • Berit Gehrke
  • Louise McNally


Adverbially-interpreted temporal frequency adjectives (FAs) such as frequent, sporadic, and daily, are usually restricted to modifying event-denoting nominals (e.g. The house underwent frequent cleanings = Frequently, the house underwent cleanings vs. We saw frequent sailors/the frequent sailor ? Frequently, we saw sailors/the sailor). In this, they contrast with what Gehrke and McNally (2012) refer to as nontemporal FAs (e.g. odd, cp. The odd sailor strolled by = A sailor strolled by on odd occasions). However, there is a systematic set of exceptions to this generalization, e.g. She wrote frequent letters, which have never been explained. In this paper we provide an analysis of these exceptional cases. Our account points to interesting parallelisms between the construction of interest and Kennedy’s (2012) use of Kratzer’s (1996) Event Identification to account for event measurement via measure expressions on incremental themes. It also situates this use of FAs within the family of semantic incorporation constructions, providing a novel example of how the varied morphosyntactic resources of a language can make it possible to fulfill the pragmatic functions that incorporation constructions serve for a wide variety of propositional contents.


How to Cite

Gehrke, B., & McNally, L. (2019). Event individuation by objects: Evidence from frequency adjectives. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 18, 146–163. Retrieved from https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/309