Danish bare singular count nouns in subject position


  • Henrik Høeg Müller Aarhus University




This paper aims at investigating under which conditions Danish Bare Singular Count Nouns (BSCNs) can function as subjects in standard categorical statements, i.e. outside special discourse types such as proverbs, newspaper headlines, titles of paintings, etc. Taking as a point of departure a brief discussion of the distributional differences between, on the one hand, Bare Plural count nouns (BPs) and mass nouns and, on the other, BSCNs, it is shown that, contrary to BP- and mass noun subjects, BSCNs in subject position are non-referential and do not imply existential presupposition. On these grounds, and on the basis of analyses of phenomena such as agreement features, genericity and pseudo-incorporation, it is argued that the BSCN-subjects of categorical statements are objects which, owing to the lack of realisation of nominal functional categories, act as property-denoting modifiers restricting the denotation of a covert predicate. Consequently, it is concluded that BSCNs in subject position do not function as arguments in themselves, but are instead pseudo-incorporated into the covert predicate as modifiers.






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