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Nominal Arguments and Language Variation$
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Li Julie Jiang

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190084165

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190084165.001.0001

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Variation in Classifier Languages

Variation in Classifier Languages

(p.255) Chapter 5 Variation in Classifier Languages
Nominal Arguments and Language Variation

Li Julie Jiang

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 develops a uniform account of bare nominal arguments (i.e., bare numeral classifier phrases, bare classifier phrases, bare nouns) in classifier languages. It achieves that by extending the scope of discussion to more classifier languages. It starts with three points on which Mandarin and Nuosu Yi differ and which make this comparison interesting from the perspective of building a theory of cross-linguistic variation. Their differences are: (i) whether or not they have the function category D in their grammar, (ii) whether or not they freely allow numeral-less classifier phrases to appear in argument positions, as a result of applying covert argument formation operations unrestrictedly, and (iii) whether or not they allow one-deletion from the [one Cl N] phrase in the PF. Three parameters based on these differences account for the variation.

Keywords:   parameters, classifier languages without D, classifier languages with D, covert argument formation, one-deletion, definiteness, language typology

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