Lim, Meghan and Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine, 2020. “Definiteness and indefiniteness in Burmese.”

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-Triviality 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.