Winter 2017, Vol. 48, No. 1, Pages 1-45
Attributive APs precede certain other categories (PPs, genitive DPs, etc.), when the noun precedes both (Giurgea 2009, Adger 2012). This observation may suggest an analysis in terms of X-bar-style “structural layering.” However, such an account faces several problems: (a) in languages with PP-AP-N order, scrambling of the AP is permitted; (b) in languages with AP-N-PP or PP-N-AP order, there is evidence that the AP can c-command the PP, as well as the other way around; and (c) in languages with N-AP-PP order, the AP can take scope over the PP, as well as the other way around, arguably as a consequence of a structural ambiguity. We therefore develop an alternative analysis based on a striking parallel between the syntax of attributive APs and that of objects: while OV languages systematically allow adverbs to intervene between object and verb, VO languages tend to require verb-object-adverb order. This aspect of verbal syntax is familiar and can be captured in terms of a well-known linear constraint: Case Adjacency (Stowell 1981, Janke and Neeleman 2012). We propose that this constraint has a nominal counterpart that ensures N-AP adjacency in noun-initial structures. Thus, this instance of NP/VP parallelism has its source in parallel constraints, rather than parallel structural layers.