Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka and Meghan Lim, 2020. “Anti-uniqueness without articles.”
Proceedings of SALT 30, pages 430–449.

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 richer description of (in)definiteness distinctions in Burmese.

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