Lim, Meghan and Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine, 2023.
“Definiteness and indefiniteness in Burmese.”
Proceedings of TripleA 7, pages 34–50.
We report on the interpretation of diﬀerent forms of singular argument nominals in Burmese, a language without articles, from original ﬁeldwork. Like in Mandarin Chinese (Jenks, 2018), bare nouns are unique deﬁnites, with demonstratives used for anaphoric deﬁnites. Indeﬁnites use the numeral ‘one.’ We develop an analysis based on Jenks’ analysis of Mandarin Chinese deﬁnites, extended with a novel proposal for ‘one’ indeﬁnites. Indeﬁnites introduce an antiuniqueness inference, which we derive from a Non-Vacuity constraint rather than Maximize Presupposition à la Heim 1991, with crucial evidence from anaphoric deﬁnites with ‘one.’ We also describe the availability of bare noun indefinite objects, which we analyze as a form of (pseudo) noun incorporation.
See also our companion SALT paper, which further develops the analysis of ‘one’ indefinites