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When Determiners Abound: Implications for the Encoding of Definiteness

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the encoding of definiteness in Modern Greek. Modern Greek has a definite article, which at first sight seems to be performing the regular function of a definite determiner, in terms of contributing semantic definiteness. Definite noun phrases in Modern Greek obligatorily require the definite article. The chapter briefly presents the properties of the polydefinite construction. It turns to the implications of the analysis for the encoding of definiteness in the language. The chapter also argues that the semantic effects usually associated with definite determiners (e.g. existence and uniqueness assertion/ presupposition) are not achieved in Modern Greek through the overtly realized definite article(s). The Modern Greek definite determiner never makes a semantic contribution in terms of definiteness. Finally, the chapter addresses two potential problems for the proposed view of definiteness in Modern Greek.

Keywords: definite article; definite determiner; Modern Greek; polydefinite construction; semantic contribution; semantic definiteness



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