19.2156, Disc: New: 'The Matter' - NP Substitution for AP

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Sun Jul 6 20:08:08 UTC 2008


LINGUIST List: Vol-19-2156. Sun Jul 06 2008. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.

Subject: 19.2156, Disc: New: 'The Matter' - NP Substitution for AP

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1)
Date: 04-Jul-2008
From: Hank Mooney < granjon at sonic.net >
Subject: New: 'The Matter' - NP Substitution for AP

 

	
-------------------------Message 1 ---------------------------------- 
Date: Sun, 06 Jul 2008 16:06:45
From: Hank Mooney [granjon at sonic.net]
Subject: New: 'The Matter' - NP Substitution for AP
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The phrase 'the matter' is used in English as a synonym (??) for the word
'wrong', as in

'Something was the matter with him.'

'What's the matter?'

'Is something the matter?'

The use of a noun phrase in a syntactic slot that calls for an adjective is
unusual, and I'm wondering if anyone has addressed this usage and its
implications for syntactic theory in an article or book.

Some questions that come to my mind are:

Are there other instances of noun phrases substituting for adjectives in
English?

Any instances of similar things in other languages?

How do speakers process this usage? 

Hank Mooney
granjon at sonic.net 


Linguistic Field(s): Syntax






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