University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


In this paper we examine several aspects of the syntax and semantics of the so-called Spanish comparative qualitative binominal noun phrases (henceforth, c-QBNP’s). Structurally, Spanish c-QBNP’s involve two nominal/adjectival phrases joined by a linker de after predicate inversion (cf. den Dikken 2006). While previous literature has mainly focused on the so-called Definiteness Agreement Effect (Español-Echevarría 1997, 1998), we argue that the syntax of this construction is instead subjected to Specificity agreement, for both phrases must at least be specific rather than definite (cf. Villalba 2007). We further evidence that feature sharing properly explains the licensing of the phi-features involved (cf. Frampton and Gutmann 2000, Pesetsky and Torrego 2007). In addition, the syntax and semantics of Spanish c-QBNP’s sheds light on the differentiation between syntactic and semantic definiteness. Crosslinguistic data support our analysis.