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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26223

Title: Classifiers and Determiner-less Languages: The Case of Thai
Authors: Piriyawiboon, Nattaya
Advisor: Massam, Diane
Department: Linguistics
Keywords: Classifier
Determiner
Thai nouns
Thai classifiers
Classifier languages
Syntax of classifiers
Semantics of classifiers
Bare arguments
Issue Date: 17-Feb-2011
Abstract: This thesis provides a syntactic and semantic analysis of bare arguments and classifiers in Thai as well as accounting for its nominal word order. Adopting the Nominal Mapping Parameter (Chierchia 1998), it is argued that Thai nouns are names of kinds. Kinds are of type <s,e>, which are allowed to appear without overt determiners in argument position. For this reason, Thai nouns cannot directly combine with a quantifier without the help of a classifier. The study shows that Thai arguments behave like English bare arguments (bare plurals and mass nouns) in that they exhibit scopelessness and can be interpreted with different meanings such as weak indefinite, generic and kind interpretations. Unlike English bare arguments, the Thai counterparts may also have a definite interpretation. This is because Thai lacks an overt definite determiner. In addition, the thesis provides a unified analysis for the occurrence of Thai classifiers in different contexts. It is assumed that a classifier occurs in a quantified context to provide a portion of a kind (Krifka 1995, Chierchia 1998). The thesis further proposes that a classifier occurs in a non-quantified context where there is no overt numeral when the noun phrase is specific. A specific noun phrase includes those appearing with a demonstrative, the numeral ‘one’ or a modifier. As for the word order within the nominal domain, it is proposed that the noun, although merged at the bottom of the Specific Phrase underlyingly, always appears in the initial position to check an uninterpretable nominal feature in the Specific head.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26223
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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