Definiteness of bare NPs as a function of clausal position: A corpus study of Czech
Radek Simik, Marketa Burianova
June 2020

We provide corpus evidence (i) that the effect of clausal position of bare NPs on their (in)definiteness is real and (ii) that what matters is absolute position (clause-initial vs. clause-final) rather than relative position to the verb (preverbal vs. postverbal). The strongest effect found is a restriction on clause-initial indefinite bare NPs (in line with Geist 2010), of which there are almost 5-times fewer than the null hypothesis would expect. We also rule out the potential confound of syntactic function: being a subject does not have an effect on being definite (and being an object has no effect on being indefinite); the observed effect is reducible to clausal position, with which subject-/objecthood strongly correlates.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003861
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Formal Approaches to Slavic Linguistics 26: The Urbana-Champaign Meeting 2017
keywords: definiteness, bare nps, word order, clause-initiality, clause-finality, preverbality, postverbality, topic, subject, semantics, syntax
previous versions: v2 [June 2018]
v1 [February 2018]
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