Cardinality and (in)definiteness
Yağmur Sağ
January 2024

In every language, numeral constructions (NCs) consistently exhibit a pattern of strong indefiniteness. Although they can also appear with an overt definite determiner, achieving definiteness in NCs in languages without articles typically necessitates the use of alternative markers, such as demonstratives (Jiang, 2012). This contrasts with bare nouns, which can freely take on definiteness in articleless languages, often attributed to a covert iota operator in the neo-Carlsonian approach. The prevailing view considers NCs to be predicative expressions, undergoing ∃ type-shifting in argument positions without overt determiners. Yet, it is unclear why the covert iota does not similarly apply to NCs in articleless languages, given their compatibility with the definite determiner in languages with articles. Taking up this puzzle, this study proposes that NCs primarily function as argumental expressions of type e, with their indefiniteness (via a choice function) stemming from a cardinal head residing within their structure. The proposal is grounded in an analysis of NCs in Turkish, an articleless language with an optional classifier, tane, and reinforced by data from Farsi.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007886
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Forthcoming in Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 28
keywords: numeral constructions, optional classifiers, cardinality, (in)definiteness, semantics, syntax
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