Definiteness and Indefiniteness in Burmese

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Dokumentart: ConferencePaper
Date: 2023-07
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Philosophische Fakultät
DDC Classifikation: 400 - Language and Linguistics
490 - Other languages
Keywords: Linguistik , Semantik , Feldforschung , Birmanisch , Bestimmtheit
Other Keywords:
linguistics, semantics, fieldwork, Sino-Tibetan languages, Burmese, definiteness
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We report on the interpretation of different forms of singular argument nominals in Burmese, a language without articles, from original fieldwork. Like in Mandarin Chinese (Jenks, 2018), bare nouns are unique definites, with demonstratives used for anaphoric definites. Indefinites use the numeral ‘one’. We develop an analysis based on Jenks’ analysis of Mandarin Chinese definites, extended with a novel proposal for ‘one’-indefinites. Indefinites introduce an anti-uniqueness inference, which we derive from a Non-Vacuity constraint rather than Maximize Presupposition a` la Heim (1991), with crucial evidence from anaphoric definites with ‘one.’ We also describe the availability of bare noun indefinite objects, which we analyze as a form of (pseudo) noun incorporation.

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