The illusion of the NP/DP divide
Evidence from Lithuanian
In this paper, we present syntactic and semantic arguments that, in at least one articleless language (Lithuanian), bare nouns are able to project either NP or DP structures (cf. Franks & Pereltsvaig 2004; Ajíbóyè 2006; Pereltsveig 2006). We show that, in some syntactic contexts, Lithuanian bare nouns are only able to receive definite interpretations; in one context, they are only interpreted indefinitely. We then tie these interpretations to the presence or absence of D. Further, we highlight problems with the view that there is a categorical difference between articleless (NP) and articleful (DP) languages (Bošković 2010; Despić 2011), by testing Bošković’s and Despić’s generalizations about NP vs. DP languages on Lithuanian. In both cases, Lithuanian ends up behaving somewhat like an NP language, and somewhat like a DP language. Lithuanian is therefore a counterexample to the NP/DP split posited by Bošković, and must receive a different analysis.
Keywords: NPs, determiners, aspect, scope, DPs, indefiniteness, definiteness
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