The third person is present: An argument from determiners in generic statements
Artemis Alexiadou, Johannes Hein, Ivona Ilic, Uli Sauerland
June 2024

The representation of 3rd person is a matter of vibrant debate in the literature. While it is generally considered to be the absence of any person specification (Kayne 2000, Adger and Harbour 2007, Béjar and Rezác 2003, Benveniste 1956, Harley and Ritter 2002, Kratzer 2009), recent proposals provide both syntactic and semantic evidence for the need to represent the third person in the system of φ-features (Nevins 2007, 2011, Harbour 2016, Ackema and Neeleman 2018, Grishin 2023). Here, we present an argument in favor of this view based on a recently noted effect of an alternation between the presence/absence of a definite determiner in generic statements (Acton 2019, Driemel et al. 2022, 2024). In a nutshell, we argue that the presence of the determiner reflects the presence of a 3rd person feature while its absence indicates the absence of any person specification.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/008186
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: NELS 54 Proceedings
keywords: third person, genericity, kinds, determiner, alternatives, exhaustification, germanic, romance, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, semantics, syntax
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