By Christopher Lyons
This 1999 textbook investigates definiteness either from a comparative and a theoretical viewpoint, exhibiting how languages convey definiteness and what definiteness is. It surveys plenty of languages to find the variety of version on the subject of definiteness and comparable grammatical phenomena, comparable to demonstratives, possessives and private pronouns. It outlines paintings performed at the nature of definiteness in semantics, pragmatics and syntax, and develops an account on which definiteness is a grammatical class represented in syntax as a practical head (the greatly mentioned D). attention can be given to the origins and evolution of certain articles within the gentle of the comparative and theoretical findings. one of the claims complex are that definiteness doesn't ensue in all languages, although the pragmatic thought which it grammaticalizes most likely does.
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Extra resources for Definiteness (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics)
One answer is that nouns like sun denote singleton sets, while proper nouns denote individuals; this would be in keeping with the view that proper nouns have reference but not sense. Another, implying that proper nouns do have sense, is that both types of noun denote singleton sets, but in the case of sun the set just happens to have only one member, while the set satisfying John is by definition a single-member set. This latter proposal goes some way towards answering the question why proper nouns in English do not take the definite article.
96) I’ve already put spoons on the table. The indefinite article a only occurs, in fact, in singular count noun phrases – an odd limitation – and this has led many grammarians to suppose that its place is taken in examples like (95)–(96) by a “zero” variant of the indefinite article. But notice that even singular indefinite count noun phrases do not necessarily take a: one orange. This is not because one is an indefinite determiner; it is a cardinality term like three and many, and, like them, can appear in definite noun phrases: the one orange, this one ticket.
C. d. Tall as Nuala is, she won’t be able to reach it. Fido is mine. Is there Peter in the house? (58) a. b. c. d. Big as my cousin is, he can’t lift it. Make yourself at home – my house is yours. Is there Rachel’s racket in here? (59) a. b. c. d. Clever as you are, I bet you won’t solve it. I am yours. which/some/all of us *Is there him here yet? (60) a. b. c. d. Strong as every contestant is, they’ll never shift it. All hats are yours. Is there every visitor here? The partitive structure in the (c) examples shows some deviations from the pattern seen with the; which of cannot be followed by a proper noun because these are always singular, and noun phrases with all do not readily occur at all in partitives, for reasons which are not obvious.
Definiteness (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics) by Christopher Lyons