Salience, uniqueness, and the definite determiner -te in Bulu

Jefferson Barlew


Analyses of the meanings of definite determiners both in English (Kadmon 1990, Roberts 2003, Elbourne 2013, a.o.) and crosslinguistically (Schwarz 2013,  Arkoh and Matthewson 2013) have been framed in terms of two dimensions of meaning: familiarity and uniqueness.  This paper presents an analysis of the Bulu (Bantu, Cameroon) definite determiner -te. I argue that the antecedent of an NP with -te is required to be salient and unique.  Thus, salience is an additional dimension along which there is crosslinguistic variation in the meanings of definite determiners.

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