The Compositional Nature of (In)Definiteness

Franciska M.G. de Jong

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    In certain syntactic contexts, only a restricted set of determiners can be inserted. This restriction is often associated with the feature of (in)definiteness. However, the extensive literature on (in)definiteness appears to lack a clear-cut definition of the categories to which this feature applies. A comparison of the distributional restrictions in two contexts that are assumed to be sensitive to (in)definiteness shows this. The contexts are (a) sentences with initial 'there' which have been extensively studied by Milsark (1977) and (b) partitive NP-constructions (as analysed by e.g. Barwise & Cooper (1981)). The classification of determimers to be proposed in this article will be based on a system incorporating *two* features instead of one. Empirical evidence for this proposal will be derived from the analysis of several other restrictive contexts.
    Original languageUndefined
    Title of host publicationThe Representation of (In)definitenss
    EditorsE. Reuland, A. ter Meulen
    Place of PublicationCambridge, Mass.
    PublisherMIT Press
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Print)9780262181266
    Publication statusPublished - 1987

    Publication series

    NameCurrent Studies in Linguistics Series
    PublisherMIT Press


    • EWI-14959
    • IR-80817
    • HMI-SLT: Speech and Language Technology

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