The NP/DP-language distinction as a scale and parameters in minimalism
Hiromune Oda
April 2022
 

The dissertation examines a wide range of phenomena from the perspective of the NP/DP-language distinction, establishing a number of novel typological generalizations, and discussing their relevance to various aspects of the linguistic theory. Bošković originally proposed a two-way distinction of NP/DP-languages, namely languages with and without definite articles, but Talić (2017) argued that the two-way distinction is not sufficient, with a three-way distinction needed: article-less languages, affixal article languages, and non-affixal article languages. In this dissertation, I first provide additional support for Talić's proposal with two novel typological generalizations: extraction of a conjunct from coordinate structures may be allowed only in affixal article and article-less languages, and what I call compositional indeterminate pronouns may be productive only in languages with affixal articles and without articles. Relatedly to the second generalization, I establish the generalization that large-scale pied-piping is possible in a language only if it has compositional indeterminate pronouns and the projection to be pied-piped is head-final. I also offer deductions of these generalizations, which have consequences for a number of phenomena/mechanisms, e.g. with respect to phases, Agree, labeling, and the syntax of wh-in-situ. Regarding Agree, I argue that it can be deduced from Minimal Search, hence eliminated from the grammar. Most importantly, I argue that Talić's three-way distinction of NP/DP-languages is not sufficient either; we need a more fine-grained "scale" of NP/DP-language distinction, from canonical to non-canonical DP languages, rather than a two-way or a three-way "cut". I demonstrate that a number of languages (e.g. Italian and Greek) that have been treated as canonical DP-languages by Bošković and Talić exhibit some properties of NP-languages, and argue that the presence/absence of a definite article does not necessarily correspond to the presence/absence of DP in a given language or a construction. I propose that the definite article has an option of not projecting DP, by being base-generated adjoined to another head in the nominal domain, an option which I show enables us to capture the scale of DP-hood. I also show that the scale approach to the NP/DP-language distinction is an appropriate point of parameterization in minimalism.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006666
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: University of Connecticut
keywords: np/dp-language distinction, generative typology, parameters in minimalism, merge, phase, agree, minimal search, labeling, locality, coordinate structure constraint, indefinite pronouns, wh-questions, large-scale pied-piping, weak heads, possessors and reflexive possessives, emergentist view of parameters, grammaticalization of definite and indefinite articles, semantics, morphology, syntax
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