Forthcoming: Definiteness across languages

Ana Aguilar-Guevara   Julia Pozas Loyo   Violeta Vázquez-Rojas Maldonado  


Definiteness has been a central topic in theoretical semantics since its modern foundation. However, despite its significance, there has been surprisingly scarce research on its cross-linguistic expression. With the purpose of contributing to filling this gap, the present volume gathers thirteen studies exploiting insights from formal semantics and syntax, typological and language specific studies, and, crucially, semantic fieldwork and cross-linguistic semantics, in order to address the expression and interpretation of definiteness in a diverse group of languages, most of them understudied. The papers presented in this volume aim to establish a dialogue between theory and data in order to answer the following questions: What formal strategies do natural languages employ to encode definiteness? What are the possible meanings associated to this notion across languages? Are there different types of definite reference? Which other functions (besides marking definite reference) are associated with definite descriptions? Each of the papers contained in this volume addresses at least one of these questions and, in doing so, they aim to enrich our understanding of definiteness.


  • Definiteness across languages
    An overview
    Ana Aguilar-Guevara, Julia Pozas Loyo, Violeta Vázquez-Rojas Maldonado
  • Weak vs. strong definite articles
    Meaning and form across languages
    Florian Schwarz
  • Definiteness in Cuevas Mixtec
    Carlos Cisneros
  • Strong vs. weak definites
    Evidence from Lithuanian adjectives
    Milena Šereikaitė
  • On (in)definite expressions in American Sign Language
    Ava Irani
  • A nascent definiteness marker in Yokot’an Maya
    Maurice Pico
  • Definiteness across languages and in L2 acquisition
    Bert Le Bruyn
  • Licensing D in classifier languages and “numeral blocking”
    David Hall
  • On kinds and anaphoricity in languages without definite articles
    Miloje Despić
  • Definiteness in Russian bare nominal kinds
    Olga Borik, M. Teresa Espinal
  • A morpho-semantic account of weak definites and Bare Institutional Singulars in English
    Adina Williams
  • Is the weak definite a generic?
    An experimental investigation
    Thaís Maira Machado de Sá, Greg N. Carlson, Maria Luiza Cunha Lima, Michael K. Tanenhaus
  • Most vs. the most in languages where the more means most
    Elizabeth Coppock, Linnea Strand
  • Definiteness, partitivity, and domain restriction
    A fresh look at definite reduplication
    Urtzi Etxeberria, Anastasia Giannakidou
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