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Double Definiteness in Scandinavian

Double Definiteness in Scandinavian  
Type Article
Author(s) Marit Julien
Editor(s) Anne Dahl, Kristine Bentzen and Peter Svenonius
Publication title Proceedings of the 19th Scandinavian Conference of Linguistics, vol 31.1
Publisher Nordlyd 31.1:230-244
Annotator Espen Lønvik
Corpus Link Double Definiteness in Scandinavian
Media type web article [1]

By Espen Lønvik

General Information

This article belongs to the TC Category Interlinear Glossed Text from Linguistic Research.

In this category we collect TCwiki pages that feature Interlinear Glossed Text (IGT) from linguistic publications.

IGT are normally demarcated through indenting, numbering and a space above and under the example. One line of text is followed by one line of glosses and a line with free translation completes the pattern. IGTs from linguistic publications are of particular interest, since they represent a unique alignment of language data and linguistic theory. Example sentences from seminal articles are not rarely quoted in linguistic publications for decades which is another good reason why they need our attention.

In an effort to make IGT more accessible to linguistic research, we try to extract original IGT from linguistic publications and in same cases we provide additional linguistic glosses through a subsequent layer of annotation using the TypeCraft Glosser. In this way we hope to contribute to the re-usability of this data.

On each of the our pages that feature IGT from secondary sources, we also provide a short annotated bibliography, sometimes combined with a list of key-terms which can help to gain a perspective on the research questions raised in the original article. The 'Infobox' may contain further information about the linguistic framework used in the original article, as well as additional classifications of the phenomena treated, whenever that is possible.

Key Terms:

Double Definiteness
Denotation of DPs
Syntactic Structure of DP
Indefinite/Definite NP
Kind/Proper Names


In Norwegian and other Scandinavian languages, definiteness in NPs are shown in a suffixed article. When the NP contains an adjective or a quantifier, definiteness is also shown by a prenominal determiner. When they both occur, we have what is called double definiteness. Julien references Longobardi on the denotation of DPs, and demonstrates the different significance of a filled or empty D-position of an NP in Romance and Germanic languages. With double definiteness in Scnadinavian languages, Julien aims to further demonstrate Longobardis view that the referential properties of D is weak in Germanic. Julien explains the syntactic structure of the DP as proposed by other researchers and herself, and illustrates how double definiteness is realized syntactically. She demonstrates this syntactic structure indefinite NPs (singular and plural), and definite NPs in Norwegian, and how the D-position can be either filled or empty when referencing kind or proper names, and sometimes optional. She shows examples of fixed expressions in Scandinavian with different constructions. Julien mentions the earlier assumptions on head movement of double definiteness, and makes her own proposal on the issue. Finally, she raises the problem of the D-projection of NP without an adjective or a quantifier.

Glossed Examples:

de-n gul-e skjort-a

DEF-SG yellow-W shirt-DEF.FEM.SG

‘the yellow shirt’
de-i gul-e skjort-e-ne

DEF-PL yellow-W shirt-PL-DEF.PL

‘the yellow shirts’
de-i to (gul-e) skjort-e-ne

DEF-PL two yellow-W shirt-PL-DEF.PL

‘the two (yellow) shirts’
de-n ny-e forstå-ing-a hennar av seg sjølv

DEF-SG new-W understand-ing-DEF.FEM.SG her ofREFL self

‘her new understanding of herself’
Det var (*de-n) svart-e natt-a da ho kom.

it was DEF-SG black-w night-DEF.FEM.SG when she came

‘It was dark night when she came.’
Ho løft-a (de-n ) venstre hand-a.

she lift-PAST DEF-SG left hand-DEF.FEM.SG

‘She raised her left hand.’
de-i fem bil-a-ne

DEF-PL five car-PL-DEF.PL

‘the five cars.’
De-n kvit-e mann-(en) har undertrykt andre kultur-ar.

DEF-SG white-W man-DEF.SG has oppressed other culture-PL

‘The white man has oppressed other cultures.’
De-n kvit-e mann-*(en) åt ein is.

DEF-SG white-W man-DEF.SG ate an ice(-cream)

‘The white man ate an ice-cream.’
[DP *(Det) gaml-e Roma] vartøydelagt av barbar-a-ne.

the old-DEF Roma was destroyed by barbarian-PL-DEF

‘Ancient Rome was destroyed by the barbarians.’