Adjectives in Construct

  • Ji-yung Kim


Hebrew construct-state adjectives (CSAs) show syntactic agreement with an element to which they bear little semantic relation on the surface. I propose that the CSA combines with its complement to form a complex predicate, which behaves like a simplex adjective: the complex predicate semantically modifies and agrees with the noun outside the construct, and the agreement is indicated on the head of this complex predicate, namely the CSA. The one trait that sets CSAs apart from simplex adjectives is that CSAs must be followed by a noun phrase headed by a relational noun (e.g. se’ar ‘hair’ in the example above). I attribute this idiosyncrasy of CSAs to their distinct type, also signaled in their distinct morphology: CSAs are functions seeking relation-type predicates as their arguments. The proposed analysis thus manages to explain all the properties of CSAs while maintaining a maximally straightforward relation between syntax and semantics, and semantics and morphology.
How to Cite
Kim, J.- yung. (2019). Adjectives in Construct. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 6, 185-200.