Reference, determiners and descriptive content

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This paper starts out arguing that Gundel et al.’s claim that whatever a demonstrative can do, a definite article can do equally well is in need of revision. Then, against the tenor of Gundel et al.’s Givenness Hierarchy model, we postulate a univocal lexical meaning for determiners and corresponding pronouns in Norwegian, but we also show that what appears to be a conflation of definite article and distal demonstrative determiner in certain syntactic environments in Norwegian is two distinct linguistic phenomena in spoken Norwegian, and finally we argue that segmentally identical determiners and pronouns in the Niger-Congo language Akan are semantically distinct lexemes.


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