Inconsistencies of the Consistency test

Mary Moroney


The Consistency test from Dayal 2004—inspired by Löbner’s (1985) logical property of Consistency—has been used to distinguish between demonstratives and definite determiners in a language, particularly in a type-shifting analysis of bare nouns following Chierchia 1998 and Dayal 2004. This paper looks at three classifier languages, Nuosu Yi (Jiang 2018), Thai (Jenks 2015), and Shan (Moroney 2018) and examines the use of the Consistency test in the study of N/DP syntax and semantics. While the Consistency test can identify demonstratives from their ability to shift reference using deixis, it cannot identify when a nominal expression ‘counts’ as a definite determiner.


semantics; bare nouns; Consistency test; Law of Contradiction; classifier languages; type-shifting

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2019 Mary Moroney

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Donate to the Open-Access Fund of the LSA

Linguistic Society of America

Advancing the Scientific Study of Language since 1924

ISSN (online): 2473-8689

This publication is made available for free to readers and with no charge to authors thanks in part to your continuing LSA membership and your donations to the open access fund.