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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/2401

Title: Bare nouns, proper names and the syntax-semantics mapping : toward a unified parametric theory
Author⁄s: Longobardi, Giuseppe
Date issued: 1999
Type of document: Article
Is part of: Rivista di Grammatica Generativa, vol. 24 (1999), p. 45-76
Publisher: Padova, Unipress
Abstract: In this article I will push forward a line of inquiry initially suggested in Longo-bardi (1994), arguing that Romance and English bare nouns differ in meaning, though not in shape, in a formal and grammatically predictable way, and improving descriptively on my own as well as on other recent accounts. The main proposal will be that Romance bare nouns are nothing but indefinites (quantificational variables, existentially or generically bound) in Heim‟s sense, while English bare nouns are ambiguous between this quantificational interpretation of indefinites and a referen-tial (i.e. kind-referring) one. The analysis will then crucially exploit and empirically support the distinction be-tween referential (or DP-level) and quantificational (or sentence-level) genericity, along lines first proposed by Gerstner and Krifka (1988) and related semantic litera-ture. This approach will lead to a better conceptual understanding of the fundamen-tal typological connection between the DP-internal syntax of proper names and the semantics of bare nouns established in Longobardi (1994). The principles of mapping between syntax and, ultimately, semantics will then turn out to be rather abstract, in that they unify superficially quite distinct and non-trivially related phenomena (bare nouns and proper names), and to be subject to subtle and precise parametric variation, connected to a number of purely syntactic properties. Such results allow for some preliminary answers to the questions raised above and may contribute to lay down the foundations for the empirical study of comparative semantics.
Language: eng
Keywords: Bare nouns
Proper names
Access rights: open
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