Referentially Anchored Indefinites

  • Klaus von Heusinger
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 84)


Specific indefinite noun phrases are prototypically referential expressions, show wide scope, are presuppositional, and indicate discourse prominence or “noteworthiness”. However, not all specific indefinites show these properties. The existence of so-called “narrow scope specific” or “relative specific” indefinites demonstrates that specificity cannot be explained by the wide scope of specific indefinites or by their referential properties. This paper argues that the accusative case suffix in Turkish marks specificity, including that of narrow scope specific indefinites. Enç’s (1991) semantic representation of specificity is modified and a more general representation is formulated in terms of file change semantics. Specific indefinite noun phrases are taken to introduce a new discourse item that is anchored to an already established discourse item. This underspecified semantics accounts for the different aspects of specificity.


Noun Phrase Relative Clause Salient Function Wide Scope Direct Object 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus von Heusinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Linguistik / GermanistikUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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