Spanish adjectives within bounds

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The present paper reexamines the relationship between the two Spanish copulas <i>ser</i> &#8220;be&#8221; and <i>estar</i> &#8220;be.<sc>locative</sc>&#8221; and the i-level/s-level contrast. It is shown that the compatibility with the copulas does not yield an adequate classification of adjectives as i-level or s-level, if this distinction is defined in terms of boundedness. Additional criteria for boundedness have to be taken into account, namely the compatibility (i) with certain pseudo-copular verbs, (ii) with adjunct predicates and (iii) with absolute constructions. Adjectives like <i>enfermo</i> (&#8216;ill&#8217;), which in addition to their compatibility with <sc>estar</sc> can appear in all these contexts, can be properly considered bounded. Among so-called ambivalent adjectives at least two types can distinguished: <i>nervioso</i> (&#8216;nervous&#8217;) type adjectives are compatible with <sc>ser</sc> and are also allowed in any of the other s-level-contexts, while <i>viejo</i> (&#8216;old&#8217;) type adjectives allow <sc>ser</sc> and <sc>estar</sc>, but do not pass any of the other tests for boundedness.


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