Anti-uniqueness without articles

Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine, Meghan Lim


We report on the expression of singular nominals in Burmese, an articleless language, from original elicitation work. Bare nouns are interpreted as singular definites, to which the numeral tiq 'one' is added to form indefinites. We propose that tiq 'one' restricts the domain of the nominal to a singleton, and that its addition is subject to a Non-Vacuity constraint; this is the source of the anti-uniqueness inference of indefinites. We furthermore investigate the availability of tiq 'one' in anaphoric definites. Such behavior forms an argument that the compositional semantics of anaphoric definites does not involve contextual restriction via a situation variable, unlike unique definites.

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Copyright (c) 2021 Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine, Meghan Lim