Number Neutrality and Anaphoric Update of Pseudo-Incorporated Nominals in Persian (and Weak Definites in English)

Manfred Krifka, Fereshteh Modarresi


Persian shows differential object marking. We argue that objects without the object marker rā are pseudo-incorporated in the verbal predicate. Specifically, we argue for an existential closure operator over the vP that binds the event variable of the verbal predicate, and that nominals within the vP are interpreted as dependent definites with respect to the event. We show that this results in an apparent number neutrality of such nominals, and a maximality interpretation of anaphoric uptakes typical of E-type pronouns. The semantic contribution of nominals within and outside of the vP is modeled in DRT. We also argue that weak definites in English make use of the same strategy as pseudo-incorporated nominals in Persian, and offer an explanation why they are restricted to readings referring to institutionalized activities.

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