Is it possible for a DP like "three times" to act as an AdvP ("He read the book three times.")? How would such a constituency tree look like? How does the DP modify the verb? Conversely, would the same thing apply to constructions in Dutch such as "twee keer"?

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    DP and AdvP are not functions, but distinct phrase categories, so one can't 'act' as the other. I think what you're asking is whether "three times" can function as an adjunct. Yes, it can - in your example it's a frequency adjunct in clause structure, a constituent of the VP. Note, though, that "three times" is not a DP but an NP with "times" as head and "three" as determiner. – BillJ Jan 9 '19 at 15:58
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    @BillJ The idea that all traditional NPs are actually DPs is mainstream within modern MP generative grammar, even if most theories outside the Chomsky camp disagree. I'm not sure if you didn't know that, are arguing that it's wrong, or are arguing for the minority view that most are actually DPs but a few are still NPs (and that "three times" is an example of the latter). – abarnert Jan 13 '19 at 19:55
  • By the way, I don't remember who initially proposed the DP analysis within GB (Michael Brame?), but I do remember the original motivation: if sentences/clauses put functional categories above lexical categories (CP>IP>VP, and also consider aux>main verb), and so do some kinds of arguments (PP>NP), that should be true for other kinds of arguments (so DP>NP). Modern MP theorists have other theoretical arguments besides this one (e.g., possessive 's attaching to the whole phrase), but I think it's still an important one. – abarnert Jan 13 '19 at 20:01

Is it possible for a DP like "three times" to act as an AdvP ("He read the book three times.")?

You're confusing terminology here.

The DP loosely "acts as an AdvP" in the sense that it's modifying the VP, but that isn't because it's actually acting as an AdvP. It's because AdvP and DP can both adjoin to a verb to modify it according to the semantic function they carry. When you adjoin a DP, it doesn't become an AdvP, or act as one; it just becomes an adjunct and acts as one.

If you consider PP adjuncts—which you probably already know about—it's exactly the same thing. A PP doesn't become an AdvP when it's an adjunct instead of an argument. Neither does a DP.

How would such a constituency tree look like?

That depends on your favorite theoretical analysis of adjuncts. Presumably you're looking for an MP analysis, given that you're asking about DP rather than NP. But whatever you like, draw your favorite version of the tree for "He read the book repeatedly", then just sub the DP in for the AdvP, and you're done.

For example (ignoring whatever is above the VP, and whether it has anything in spec), if you analyze [VP^ read the book [AdvP^ repeatedly]] like this:

<code>[VP [V' [V' read [DP^ the book]] [AdvP^ repeatedly]]]</code>

… then you analyze [VP^ read the book [DP^ three times]] like this:

<code>[VP [V' [V' read [DP^ the book]] [DP^ three times]]</code>

Conversely, would the same thing apply to constructions in Dutch such as "twee keer"?

I don't know Dutch, but if this is a valid sentence (Google seems to think it is):

  • Hij las het boek drie keer.

… then yes, the VP is presumably structured the same way: [DP het book] is the complement of the verb, and [DP drie keer] an adjunct.

In fact, you can go way beyond close relatives to English and find DP adjuncts as frequency modifiers. (That's what makes people think that adjunction is part of Universal Grammar in the first place.) For example, in Japanese:

  • 彼はその本を三回読みまです。
  • Kare wa so-no pon o san-kai yon desu.
  • He topic-particle that-genitive-particle book accusative-particle three-occurrences read do.
  • He read the book three times.

The [DP san-kai] doesn't take the -ku ending (sort of similar to English -ly, but fully regular and productive) that an adjective/adverb would take here, so it clearly isn't an AdvP, but it is adjoining and modifying the same way.

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