Chapter published in:Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vietnamese Linguistics
Edited by Nigel Duffield, Trang Phan and Tue Trinh
[Studies in Language Companion Series 211] 2019
► pp. 155–180
Chapter 8(In)definiteness of Vietnamese noun phrases
In this contribution we discuss the factors determining the definite or indefinite interpretation of Noun Phrases in Vietnamese. In contrast to what has been claimed in the literature, we find that NPs consisting of a bare noun and NPs consisting of a numeral, a classifier (cl) and a noun, while generally indefinite, may permit a definite interpretation in certain contexts (in contrast to NPs consisting of just a classifier and a noun, which are always definite). We then compare the relevant patterns in Vietnamese with their counterparts in Mandarin and Cantonese. Although the differences may seem striking we show that they can be captured by some simple morpho-syntactic parameters.
Keywords: bare nouns, classifier NPs, indefiniteness, definiteness, Mandarin, Cantonese, subject position, object position
- 2.An overview of Vietnamese clause structure
- 3.A template for Vietnamese noun-phrases
- 4.Interpretive differences according to argument position
- 4.1NPs in canonical subject position
- 4.2NPs in postverbal positions
- 4.3Interim summary
- 5.Comparisons with Mandarin and Cantonese
- 5.1NPs in canonical subject position
- 5.2NPs in canonical object position
- 5.2.1Bare Noun-phrases
- 5.2.2[CL + N] Noun-phrases
- 5.3Interim summary
- 6.An analysis of (in)definiteness marking in Vietnamese, Cantonese and Mandarin
- 6.1Minimalist considerations
- 6.2Formal implementation
Published online: 09 October 2019
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