Determiners are phrases

Mind and Language 37 (5):893-913 (2022)
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It is generally thought that definite determiners exclusively mark nouns as definite. In several languages, however, definite determiners may modify both nouns and verbs. As I will argue, the existence of these “multi-functional” elements suggests that determiners are in fact phrases. This syntactic move has a philosophical payoff. Among other things, it allows us to cast Donnellan's distinction as an ordinary consequence of the context-invariant compositional semantics of natural language, not as a matter of contextual manipulation or lexical ambiguity. Multi-functional determiners show us that Donnellan's distinction is, contra Donnellan, a matter of grammar.



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Francesco Pupa
Nassau Community College

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Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
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Descriptions.S. Neale - 1996 - Critica 28 (83):97-129.
On Sinn and Bedeutung.Gottlob Frege - 1892 - In Michael Beaney (ed.), The Frege Reader. Blackwell. pp. 151-172.

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