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Tops and Bottoms: Axial Nominals as Weak Definites
Ora Matushansky and Joost Zwarts
270-280 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Many languages have constructions like English in front of where a locative relation is expressed through a prepositional complex with a characteristic core element (here front). Svenonius 2006, 2010 proposed an influential analysis of these elements as functional (AxPart, 'axial part'), based on their defective syntactic behavior (in contrast to their nominal counterparts). In this paper, we show that an analysis of AxParts as functional heads cannot account for the many nominal characteristics of AxParts (like the definite article in French à l'intérieur de 'inside'). We offer a more general analysis of AxParts as members of the much larger class of so-called weak nouns, like hospital in in (the) hospital, and show how the axial semantics of AxParts fits into the generic, concept-denoting semantics of weak nominals.

Published in

Proceedings of the 36th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Richard Stockwell, Maura O'Leary, Zhongshi Xu, and Z.L. Zhou
Table of contents
Printed edition: $395.00