Itamar Francez · Love and Happiness

Linguistics Colloquium

(Joint work with Andrew Koontz-Garboden, University of Manchester)

In this talk we make a proposal for what ‘love’ is and for how to derive ‘happiness’. Specifically, building on the theory of property concept nouns advanced in our recent book (Francez and Koontz-Garboden 2017), according to which they denote qualities (a particular kind of mass) , we propose a compositional account of English deadjectival nominalization like happiness, strength, and depth, on which the derivational suffixes are systematically ambiguous, and the interpretational possibilities for the derived noun are predictable from the meaning of the deriving affix and that of the element (root or adjective) it combines with. We demonstrate that the resulting analysis makes several surprising and correct predictions, including some cross linguistic ones.