S-adverbs in Icelandic and the feature theory of adverbs

This paper examines the distribution of five classes of S-adverbs in Icelandic and concludes that the adjunction theory of adverbs is superior to Cinque’s (1999) feature theory in accounting for the data. In particular, the relative freedom in the order of S-adverbs and the thematic subject in the double subject construction is expected if the subject occupies a unique position and the adverbs can adjoin recursively to maximal projections preceding or following the subject. By contrast, the feature theory necessitates an excessive functional architecture with multiple subject positions in between the adverb-related projections and this is both theoretically problematic and unmotivated.

The ordering relations among S-adverbs in Icelandic are also discussed in this paper and shown to be much freer than the feature theory would predict. Conjunctive adverbs are especially problematic as they do not behave as specifiers of any functional projection.

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