On the distinction between adverbs and adjectives in Middle High German

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The distinction between adverbs and adjectives is problematic for German. In New High German, for instance, adjective stems can be used adverbially and there is a debate whether they should be categorised as adjective or as adverb. In this paper, I propose three parameters that are related to the adnominal, adverbial and predicative function in order to distinguish between different types of modifiers instead of just distinguishing between adverb and adjective. These parameters are then used for a subset of Middle High German modifiers. It is shown that the suffixes <i>-e</i> and <i>-lich</i>(<i>e</i>) exhibit functional profiles that are neither typical for adverbs nor for adjectives. This leads to the conclusion that they are therefore neither adjective- nor adverb-deriving suffixes, but suffixes with a different function: deriving modifying words that are used both adverbially and adnominally but not predicatively.


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