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Title: DETs in the Functional Syntax of Greek Nominals
Authors: Kyriakaki, Maria
Keywords: Indo-European Languages
Greek Languages
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: University of Toronto
Abstract: In this dissertation, I explore the formal mechanisms underlying restrictive modification by nominals (RMN). The central claim is that RMN is dependent on how definiteness is encoded in a given language. In Greek, RMN is exemplified by extra definite determiners followed by bare adjectives, as shown in (1) below. These may precede or follow the matrix nominal: (1) To ksilino to kuti to skalisto The wooden the box the carved „The carved wooden box‟/ „The carved box the wooden one‟ Syntactically, I argue that the determiner and the adjective may form either a restrictive or nonrestrictive nominal depending on their structural position. Focusing on restrictive nominals, I argue that they are adjuncts to nP, which raise to FocP when focused. These adjuncts are small nominals, consisting of acategorial roots and n. A look at the structure of the matrix noun reveals that adjectives adjoin to NumP, as they are always prenominal. A look at genitives also suggests that Greek nouns move as high as NumP. Central to this thesis is the question of what licenses RMN. Previous analyses have correlated it with rich morphology (Lekakou and Szendrői, 2007, 2008, 2010). For them, the determiner is the spell-out of inflection, but is otherwise a semantic expletive. To these claims, I counter-argue that RMN is best viewed as being dependent on how definiteness is encoded and that the definite determiner is simply underspecified for definiteness. Assuming that definiteness consists of two components, familiarity and uniqueness, and based on data from Standard English and Scottish English, I propose that definite determiners spelling out one component, familiarity, are predicted to exhibit RMN. Familiarity and uniqueness can thus be mapped into two syntactic projections, FamP and ιP, respectively. I then propose a syntactico-semantic mechanism that derives these constructions. Hence, this research offers a modern cross-linguistic account of RMN, while it also provides us with new insights about how definiteness can be encoded cross-linguistically.
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