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Less form - more meaning: why bare singular nouns are special

By Henriëtte de Swart and J. Zwarts


In languages like English, bare nominals are only used in special constructions, and they come with\ud special meaning effects. This paper applies bidirectional Optimality Theory to explain why unmarked\ud (articleless) forms have unmarked (stereotypical) meanings. The syntactic unmarkedness of bare\ud nominals is embedded in a constraint-based typology of number, article use and referentiality. The\ud semantic unmarkedness of the stereotypical interpretation falls out of the strongest meaning hypothesis

Topics: Letteren
Year: 2007
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