Nominal structure in a language without articles: The case of Estonian
Mark Norris
March 2018

It is standardly assumed that nominals in the languages of the world are syntactically complex in the typical case, being made up of not just NP, but one or more functional projections, e.g., DP (Abney, 1987). Recently, this assumption has been questioned, especially for languages without articles (Bošković (2005), et seq.). The alternative proposal holds that nominals in Serbo-Croatian (and more strongly, languages without articles in general) lack the DP projection, and that this difference has a variety of syntactic consequences. In this paper, I investigate the nominal extended projection of another language without articles, Estonian (Finno-Ugric). On the basis of a number of facts about Estonian's system of adnominal genitives, I conclude that nominals in Estonian should not be given the same analysis as those in Serbo-Croatian. I propose instead that Estonian's nominals are DPs. I then propose that indefinite pronouns and wh-determiners instantiate the category D in the language, arguing that DP does more cross-linguistically than host articles. I conclude that nominal structure in languages without articles can be just as complex as nominal structure in languages with articles. (Linked article is the final official publication, as it is open access.)
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003806
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Glossa
keywords: nominal structure, dp, estonian, genitives, possession, indefinite pronouns, demonstratives, articles, morphology, syntax
previous versions: v1 [January 2018]
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