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10. Bare NPs and deficient DPs in Haitian Creole and French

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Abstract

Based on a comparative description of Haitian and French noun phrases, this study focuses on the notion of <i>bareness</i> which characterises so-called <i>bare NPs</i>. Lack of determiner is identified as one type of syntactic deficiency, which must be distinguished from Number deficiency. For any functional feature F, phonological deficiency is argued to be ambiguous between feature unmarkedness, feature deficiency, and spell-out deletion. The study of <i>bare NPs</i> must therefore crucially separate the phonological and syntactic modules of grammar. Surveying the main determiners of Haitian in simplex (nonrelativised) noun phrases, we show that these morphemes all have a deictic value, either because of their inherent features, or because of their selectional properties, and that &#8216;bare NPs&#8217; correlatively occur as default options which take up whatever interpretations are not available for overt determiners. We next turn to complex relativised noun phrases. Adapting Kayne&#39;s (1994) theory of relativisation, we argue from Haitian evidence that they include two layers of functional structure which are independently specified for number and/or definiteness, each distribution of features triggering its own set of semantic effects. We suggest that the distribution of number and locative determiners in relativised DPs, and the correlated semantic effects, might be essentially similar in French and Haitian, in spite of the crucially different properties of &#8216;D&#8217; heads in these two languages.

References

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