Why do nominalizations mean what they do? I investigate two deverbal nominalizers in Northern Paiute (Uto-Aztecan, Numic: Western United States), -na and -, which create nominalizations that describe either an event (like the poss -ing gerund in English) or an individual (like agent nominalizations with -er). I propose a syntax and semantics for these deverbal nominalizations that account for their interpretive variability. On the syntax side, I argue that -na and - overtly realize the nominal functional head that canonically assigns case to possessors when this head takes a vP complement. On the semantics side, I propose that Northern Paiute has operators that abstract over a variable inside nominalizations. This accounts for the meanings that deverbal nominalizations in Northern Paiute have, and it highlights their relationship to nominalization patterns in other languages.*


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pp. 786-833
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