Complex nominal determiners: A contrastive study

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This paper advances the idea that in German, Italian and English multi-word determiner phrases, termed Complex Nominal Determiners (CND), exist which are formed by at least a noun (N1) followed by a preposition ( <i>von, di, of </i>). CNDs either quantify the referent of the noun they determine (N2) or simultaneously quantify <i>and </i>qualify it. Syntactic tests show that the structure of NPs with a CND can be paralleled to that of clauses with support verbs (Double Analysis) insofar as they are structurally ambiguous. N2, traditionally regarded as a dependent ( <i>of </i>-phrase), can be the phrasal head. Semantic tests provide evidence that in a CND N1 carries neither referential nor lexical meaning and works as a functionword. Our study is based on data drawn from a written corpus for German and two corpora (written and spoken) for Italian. The data for English mainly comes from electronic dictionaries.


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