DPs such as the tallest boy, whose head noun is preceded by a superlative adjective, and DPs such as the only boy, whose head noun is preceded by only, are definite in the morpho-syntactic sense. But as is well-known at least since Higgins (1973), they can sometimes be semantically non-definite. We account for this optional non-definiteness within the theory of superlatives proposed in Heim (1999), by the assumption that nouns take degree arguments just like gradable adjectives, and that only and -est are phonetic realizations of the same abstract morpheme (as proposed in Bhatt 2002, 2006).
Proceedings of the 32nd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Ulrike Steindl, Thomas Borer, Huilin Fang, Alfredo García Pardo, Peter Guekguezian, Brian Hsu, Charlie O'Hara, and Iris Chuoying Ouyang Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-466-9 library binding
vii + 351 pages
publication date: 2015
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA