Arguments and modifiers in deverbal nominals: Romanian Genitives and de-PPs


  • Elena Soare University of Paris 8 & CNRS-SFL
  • Isabelle Roy University of Nantes & CNRS LLING


This paper addresses the distribution of Genitives and PPs in deverbal nominalizations with a particular focus on Romanian -tor nominals that express agents, e.g., vânzător ‘seller’, and instruments, e.g., tocător ‘shredder’. The issue of the distribution of Genitives is central to understanding the argumental structure properties of deverbal nominalizations in Romanian, and cross-linguistically. Derived nominals expressing agents and instruments have been and continue to be the subject of much controversy in the literature with respect to whether they (or at least some of them) involve an argument structure. We argue that the existence of an argumental Genitive in Romanian provides strong support for views that propose that (at least a subclass of) agent nominals have argument-structure properties. However, we also show that a proper understanding of the distribution of Genitive case-marked complements and PPs bears upon their interpretive nature, and more particularly on their specific vs. non-specific interpretation.


deverbal nominals, agent and instrument-denoting nominals, argument structure, event structure, argument, modifier, genitive, PP


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