Three Types of Indefinites in Persian: Simple, Complex, and Antidefinite

Masoud Jasbi


This paper investigates three indefinite constructions in Persian: simple (ye-NP), complex (ye-NP-i), and antidefinite (NP-i). It shows that simple indefinites with the determiner ye carry an at-issue existence implication (|NP| ≥ 1), similar to their English counterpart with the indefinite determiner a(n). Complex indefinites with both ye and -i introduce an antisingleton implication (|NP| > 1), similar to Spanish indefinites with algún. Antidefinites with only the clitic -i are a novel category which trigger a projective non-uniqueness implication (|NP| ̸= 1). The paper provides a compositional account in which the antisingleton implication of complex indefinites is derived from the existence implication of the determiner "ye" and the non-uniqueness implication of the clitic "-i". The predictions of this account as well as the pragmatic effects of complex indefinites such as ignorance, indifference, free choice, and domain widening implications are discussed. 

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