Towards a semantic map for definite adjectives in Baltic

Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Straipsnis / Article
Anglų kalba / English
Towards a semantic map for definite adjectives in Baltic
In the Journal:
Baltic linguistics . 2012, 3, p. 65-99
Apibrėžtumas; Bendrumas; Generiškumas; Įvardžiuotiniai būdvardžiai; Žymėtieji būdvardžiai; Žymėtumas
Definite adjectives; Definiteness; Defiteness; Genericity
Summary / Abstract:

ENThe paper deals with semantic developments in the Lithuanian and Latvian definite adjectival forms. The basic function of definite adjectival forms in Baltic is to mark the definiteness of the noun phrase. However, the adjectival marking of definiteness creates an interesting situation in which the noun phrase has several slots for the marking of (in)definiteness. In certain cases, different values for definiteness may appear in different slots: the adjective may be in the definite form whereas the noun phrase as a whole may be viewed as indefinite and can occur with formal markers of indefiniteness such as indefinite pronouns. These cases afford certain insights into the periphery of definiteness and the mechanisms of extension of definiteness markers into the domain of indefiniteness. The factors involved in this spill-over of definiteness markers are (i) genericity, realised in the form of so-called definite generics, whose definite markers are often retained when descending from the level of kind-reference to that of individual reference (this is referred to here as rigid or fossilised generic definiteness), and (ii) nominalisation of the adjective, which enables the retention of definite marking when a noun phrase shifts from definite plural description to singular or plural indefinite description. An important factor in the spread of definite adjectives beyond the domain of definiteness of the noun phrase seems to be their ability to evoke ad hoc taxonomies. The instances of extended definiteness marking discussed in this paper have parallels in article languages that have only one slot for (in)definiteness marking. The presence of two slots for definiteness marking in Baltic brings to light the layered nature of the definiteness of many noun phrases, which leads to what is here called "definiteness conflicts" and indeterminacy between the semantic zones of definiteness and indefiniteness. [From the publication]

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2018-02-20 04:46:50
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