Bare nominals and argument structure in Catalan and Spanish

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Abstract

This article aims at focusing on a set of phenomena related to the syntax and semantics of bare count nominals. We will show that bare count nominals unmarked for number (BNs) can occur both in object argument position and in predicate position, and can form denominal verbs. This is because, in syntax, BNs can only occur as internal arguments of relational categories (V, P) to which bare nouns can move and conflate at some point during the syntactic derivation (Hale & Keyser, Prolegomenon to a theory of argument structure, MIT Press, 2002). On the other hand, BNs - being property denoting expressions - can neither occur as internal arguments of unaccusative and complex transitive verbs nor as external arguments due to a structural constraint on subjects / specifiers (Kallulli, The comparative syntax of Albanian. On the contribution of syntactic types to propositional interpretation, University of Durham dissertation, 1999): they must be properly licensed by appropriate functional categories. The novelty of this article is to relate the occurrence of bare nominals with the argument structure position in which they may occur at a syntactic level of representation, and to explain the relationship between argument structure and the interpretation of bare nominals. © Walter de Gruyter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-39
JournalLinguistic Review
Volume28
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011

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