Posted on October 19, 2011 by Lise Fontaine
English determiners and the concept of 'selection'
We will be holding an informal LinC event on Thursday October 27th at 11.15 am in room 3.66. It will be an informal lunch-time discussion of English determiners and the concept of 'selection'. We will be discussing/debating Fawcett's (2007) paper entitled: Modelling ‘selection’ between referents in the English nominal group: an essay in scientific inquiry in linguistics. I've copied the abstract for the paper below. If anyone is interested in joining us, please let me know and I'll send you a copy of the paper so that it can be read in advance of the meeting. If you do want to join us, bring your own lunch!
Modelling ‘selection’ between referents in the English nominal group: an essay in scientific inquiry in linguistics
In Butler, C.S., Hidalgo Downing, R., and Lavid, J., (eds.) 2007. Functional Perspectives on Grammar and Discourse: In Honour of Angela Downing. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
This paper addresses two issues, one descriptive and one methodological. It offers a description of part of the English nominal group (aka noun phrase) that greatly extends the traditional concept of the ‘determiner’. More specifically, it describes an integrated semantics and functional syntax for the quantifying and deictic determiners, based on the concept of ‘selection’. This approach has the advantage over standard representations that, when analyzing (1) five books, (2) those books and (3) five of those books, the words five, those and books expound the same element in each case. The paper then shows how this approach can be extended to eight other determiners and their associated uses of of (and, incidentally, the structure for its remaining uses). But there is equal emphasis on the methodology used to establish which of three possible types of structures should be used to model such examples, and the paper concludes by suggesting that the ultimate criteria are those of elegance in the operation of the grammar.