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15. Indefiniteness and Specificity


Subject Theoretical Linguistics » Syntax

Key-Topics grammar

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405198820.2012.00017.x


The syntax and the semantics of indefinite noun phrases (henceforth, INPs) have been studied extensively over the last few decades. As a consequence, the grammatical properties of indefinite determiners in Spanish are now much better known than just 50 years ago: a quick look at the contents of the recently published Nueva gramática de la lengua española ( RAE 2009 ) shows how much progress has been made with respect to previous grammatical descriptions. With the aim of presenting the most significant advances in our understanding of the grammar of INPs, this chapter deals with three different topics. Section 2 is devoted to bare nouns (i.e., those nominal expressions lacking a determiner, such as actriz de teatro ‘theater actress’ in Ella era actriz de teatro ‘She was a theater actress’). The reasons why bare nouns (henceforth, BNs) will be discussed in this chapter are the following: on the one hand, they systematically receive indefinite-like readings in Spanish, as also occurs in the other Romance languages, and, on the other hand, they have been studied with the same basic theoretical tools that are relevant for INPs (scope, semantic types and type-shifting, information structure), and have been traditionally assimilated into the class of indefinite expressions (see Longobardi 2001 for an up-to-date version of the idea). In a few words, the grammar of Spanish BNs is ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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