Article published in:Determiners: Universals and variation
Edited by Jila Ghomeshi, Ileana Paul and Martina Wiltschko
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 147] 2009
► pp. 159–174
Kinds of predicates and reference to kinds in Hebrew
This article focuses on the optionality of the definite determiner and its effects on the range of interpretations available for singular noun phrases in Hebrew. Three factors contribute to the interpretation of singular nouns in this language: (i) predicate type: kind- and/or object-selecting; (ii) context: episodic or generic; and (iii) syntactic position. I argue that bare singulars in Hebrew can be both kind-referring and indefinites. As kind-referring, they are interpretable through a system of type-shifting operators (Chierchia 1998); as indefinites, they are interpretable via choice functions. The definite determiner is shown to introduce a massifying function or a singularity presupposition, depending on context.
Published online: 28 October 2009