Sproat and Shih (1991) characterize Japanese as a language that uses indirect modification for adnominal adjectives, on the basis of the observation that adjectival ordering is free, as in (1).
In contrast, direct modification is exemplified by prenominal adjectives in English, which exhibit rigid ordering, as in (2).
Building on a long history of research on adjectival ordering summarized in Sproat and Shih 1991 and incorporating further data, Scott (2002) proposes the following hierarchy of attributive adjectives, which characterizes direct modification structure:
The contrast in (2) is attributed to the relative height of size and shape adjectives in the hierarchy. The hierarchy is encoded as the layer of functional heads, shown schematically in (4), that host the relevant class of adjectives in their specifier, as proposed by Cinque (1994).
Under this proposal, there is a functional head corresponding to each adjectival...