Determining (In)definiteness in the Absence of Articles

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Dokumentart: ConferenceObject
Date: 2017-01
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Philosophische Fakultät
DDC Classifikation: 400 - Language and Linguistics
490 - Other languages
Keywords: Linguistik , Semantik , Hindi , Indoarische Sprachen
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This paper addresses the view that bare nominals in languages without articles can be definites or indefinites. In particular, it challenges the status of bare nominals as indefinites, providing contexts in which English uses the indefinite article but an article-less language like Hindi must resort to a numeral construction. The empirical generalization based on Hindi is that bare nominals are ambiguous between definites and kind terms and that bare plurals, but not bare singulars, can have kind derived indefinite readings. The indefinite readings available to bare singulars can be traced to NP external factors. The paper then provides an explanation for these facts within a Neo-Carlsonian approach to bare nominals. The last section of the paper extends the insights gained from the case study of Hindi bare nominals to other languages, highlighting empirical and theoretical issues of relevance in determining whether bare nominals in a given language are definites or indefinites.

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