Syntax in the Absence of Determiner Phrase

Date of Completion

January 2011


Language, Linguistics




This dissertation investigates the structure of the noun phrase in Serbo-Croatian (SC) and cross-linguistically and argues that DP is not universal.^ Chapters 2 and 3 examine the relationship between the Binding Theory and DP/NP. Chapter 2 explores Conditions B and C and argues that the most principled way of accounting for a number of binding contrasts between English and SC is to assume that the latter lacks DP. I propose a model which employs a predicate-based version of Condition B, Condition C as defined in Lasnik (1989), and a competitive mechanism which regulates the distribution of reflexives, pronouns, and R-expressions. ^ Chapter 3 discusses binding of reflexives. Two central proposals are: (i) phases are crucially involved in determining the binding domain for anaphors; (ii) in addition to CPs and νPs, DPs (but not NPs) qualify as phases. The analysis is situated within a general approach to phases, in which CPs and DPs do not always count as phases. I show that the proposed system deduces the generalization that reflexive possessives are available only in languages which lack definiteness marking, or which encode it postnominally, while they are systematically absent in languages with prenominal (article-like) definiteness marking. I extend this approach to the clausal domain, arguing that the lack of TP is the crucial reason why certain languages have subject anaphors.^ Chapter 4 addresses an argument for DP in SC based on an asymmetry in the distribution of nouns and pronouns in constructions involving an intensifying adjective. I argue that the facts in question not only do not challenge, but in fact support the lack of DP in SC. I also show that in many cases overtly strong pronouns in focus positions are in fact "camouflaged" clitics. ^ Chapter 5 proposes an analysis of SC long-form/definite adjectives which does not require DP. Central to the analysis is the observation that the definite adjectival declension diachronically consisted of an indefinite adjective and an anaphoric pronoun declining in parallel. I also explain why Bulgarian and Macedonian, the only Slavic languages with definite articles, are also the only Slavic languages lacking long-form adjectives. ^