Edited by Marlyse Baptista and Jacqueline Guéron
[Creole Language Library 31] 2007
► pp. 383–399
13. Aspects of the syntax and semantics of bare nouns in Jamaican Creole
In this paper I argue that there is no plural marking in Jamaican Creole (JC), since post-nominal dem, traditionally analyzed as a marker of plurality, is instead best considered to be what I call an Inclusiveness marker. As a consequence of the lack of plural marking, all the interpretations of both singular and plural noun phrases in a number-marking language such as English, may be assigned to the JC noun phrase. I argue that this availability of multiple sense possibilities points to the need for functional structure above the NP, which projects in a plural interpretation, when there is a need to individuate.
I extend the analysis to definiteness and indefiniteness, which the data show may exist even when they are not phonetically realized. Thus, there is also functional structure above the JC noun phrase which regulates the expression of definiteness even where there is no overt manifestation of this phenomenon. Noun phrases lacking overt functional modifiers, traditionally “bare” noun phrases, then, are not considered to be structurally bare if they express definiteness or indefiniteness.
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