Thursday 13 April – Jaklin Kornfilt ***DATE CHANGED***

Speaker: Jaklin Kornfilt  (Syracuse University)
Title: NP versus DP: A cross-linguistic parameter?
Date: Thursday 13 April
Venue: Lipsius 307
Time: 15.15-16.30 hrs

In a series of studies, Bošković (e.g. 2008, 2012, 2013) proposes a linguistic typology based on a posited dichotomy between languages whose “traditional” NPs are actually DPs and languages where the relevant projection does not go beyond the level of NP. (This would challenge, among others, the proposal in Abney (1987), according to which all languages have DPs.) One immediate clue for the relevant type of a language in this respect would be whether it has articles or not. More interestingly, Bošković proposes additional properties which a language would or would not exhibit, depending on whether it is an “NP-” or a “DP-” language (e.g. NP- languages disallow clause-mate NPI licensing under Neg.-Raising (NR), and DP- languages allow it; only DP-languages allow the majority superlative reading; inverse scope is unavailable in NP-languages).

In a related study, Bošković & Şener (2014) claim that Turkish is an NP-language, and that it therefore exhibits the properties which Bošković’s system would ascribe to it. They further posit a structure of the NP from which (at least some of) the relevant properties of Turkish would follow, according to their claims.

In this presentation, I challenge: 1. most of the details proposed for the Turkish NP by Bošković & Şener; 2. the posited correlation between the NP/DP “typology” and the properties which are claimed to be found in “DP-” versus “NP-” languages, and 3. illustrate my criticism via examples mainly from Turkish, but also from German and English, i.e. from “DP-languages”. By doing so, I hope to show that the problems discussed go beyond a mischaracterization of the discussed languages; rather, the proposed typology based on whether any given language is an “NP-language“ versus “DP-language”, if true, would be true for reasons other than those given in the literature mentioned, and would have to be based on other criteria.

Abney, S. (1987) The English noun phrase in its sentential aspect. Doctoral dissertation, MIT.
Bošković, Z. (2008) “What will you have, DP or NP?” Proceedings of NELS 37. Bošković, Z. (2012) “On NPs and Clauses”; in Discourse and Grammar: From Sentence Types to Lexical Categories; G. Grewendorf and T. E. Zimmermann (eds.), pp. 179-242.
Bošković, Z. (2013) “Phases beyond clauses”; in The Nominal Structure in Slavic and
Beyond; L. Schürcks, A. Giannakidou, U. Etxebarria, P. Kosta (eds.)
Bošković, Z. & S. Şener (2014) “ The Turkish NP”; in Crosslinguistic Studies on Noun
Phrase Structure and Reference; P. Cabredo Hofherr and A. Zribi-Hertz; Leiden: Brill, pp. 102-140.

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