Definiteness and word order in Polish
Maksymilian Dąbkowski
June 2018
 

Polish has a determiner whose anaphoric-definite functions are governed by two principles. The Principle of Indefinite Postposing says that postposed noun phrases are interpreted as indefinite (or unique-definite) by default and as anaphoric-definite only if marked as such, for example by 'ten' ("this"). The Principle of Co-referential Mismatch says that two different descriptions prototypically pick out two different referents, unless their identity is made overt by marking the second one as definite. As such, the Polish determiner 'ten' has an anaphoric-definite function, but its use is obligatory only in specific environments, where the anaphoric-definite reading is the non-default one. The bridging anaphora sometimes forbids the use of the determiner; at other times it requires a possessive phrase. The first case corresponds to the weak determiners of German and Fering; the second case―to the strong ones. Thus, the definite article 'ten' plays no part in the bridging anaphoric situations. Instead, Polish is demonstrated to have a split unobserved in previous research.
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Reference: lingbuzz/005924
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keywords: pragmatics, word, order, definiteness, postposing, reference, index, definite, article, semantics
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