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Title: Definiteness agreement and the pragmatics of reference in the Maltese NP
Authors: Gatt, Albert
Keywords: Reference (Linguistics)
Natural language processing (Computer science)
Corpora (Linguistics)
Linguistic analysis (Linguistics)
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Citation: Gatt, A. (2017). Definiteness agreement and the pragmatics of reference in the Maltese NP. STUF - Language Typology and Universals, 1-36.
Abstract: Maltese noun phrases exhibit a form of ‘definiteness agreement’ between head noun and modifier. When the noun is definite, an adjectival modifier is often overtly marked as definite as well. However, the status of this phenomenon as a case of true morphosyntactic agreement has been disputed, given its apparent optionality. Not all definite nps have modifiers which are overtly marked as definite. Some authors have argued that definiteness marking on the adjective is in fact pragmatically licensed. The present paper presents a corpus-based study of the distribution of adjectives with and without definite marking, and then tests the pragmatic licensing claim through a production study. Speakers were found to be more likely to use definite adjectives in referential noun phrases when the adjectives had a specifically contrastive function. This result is discussed in the context of both theoretical and psycholinguistic work on the pragmatics of referentiality.
ISSN: 18678319
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - InsLin

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