Between adjective and noun

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This contribution examines the issue of non-canonical usages of lexical items in French, which, as a result of their use in a construction typical of another word class than the one they are usually associated with, exhibit mixed word class properties. Starting from two case-studies: (i) a. le simple et le beau “the simple and the beautiful” (ii) a. voilà comment on fait du très beau avec du simple “that is how you can make beautiful things with simple things” b. des costumes très ‘théâtre’ “very theater-like costumes”it will be shown that both alleged cases of respectively (i) ‘nominalization’ and (ii) ‘adjectivization’ display categorial deficiency with respect to the target category, which should lead to reject all accounts based on null elements or ‘full’ recategorization (morphological conversion, lexical relisting, etc.). Instead, I propose a syntactic (constructional) account based on constructional overrides and coercion that captures both restrictions and meaning effects.


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