Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka and Meghan Lim, 2020.
“Anti-uniqueness without articles.”
Proceedings of SALT 30, pages 430–449. DOI: 10.3765/salt.v30i0.4848
We report on the expression of singular nominals in Burmese, an articleless language, from original elicitation work. Bare nouns are interpreted as singular deﬁnites, to which the numeral ‘one’ is added to form indeﬁnites. We propose that ‘one’ restricts the domain of the nominal to a singleton, and that its addition is subject to a Non-Vacuity constraint; this is the source of the anti-uniqueness inference of indeﬁnites. We furthermore investigate the availability of ‘one’ in anaphoric deﬁnites. Such behavior forms an argument that the compositional semantics of anaphoric deﬁnites does not involve contextual restriction via a situation variable, unlike unique deﬁnites.
See also our Triple A paper, which provides a more complete description of (in)definiteness distinctions in Burmese.