Nominal determination: form, function, and else is an international conference which aims to bring together researchers of diverse theoretical persuasions who all share an interest in capturing the role that determination plays in nominals, from the lexicon to discourse, passing through all layers of grammar.

 

There is a long tradition of investigating the role of determination in reference assignment and the interplay of determination with quantification. One of the primary functions of determination is to guide reference assignment, and in this way, determination plays a central role in providing a link between thought, language, communication, and the world.

 

Determination may be approached at all interface levels between morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Thus, linguistic forms and structures of potential interest to scholars of language span at least articles, possessives, demonstratives, quantifiers, numerals, adjectives, nouns, and the phrasal projections that they head. In addition, the role of determination is absolutely central in discourse management and reference.

 

Nominal determination has always been a central subject of attention in the linguistics literature. In particular, articles and demonstratives have been studied extensively. Important work has been done in on the subject, for instance, by Hodler (1954) and Abraham (1997), Christophersen (1939), Jespersen (1942) and Hawkins (1978) in Germanic linguistics; in Romance linguistics, the work by Wilmet (1986), Renzi (1976) and Korzen (1996) are reference on the field. More universally oriented approaches are found in for instance Kamp and Reyle (1993), Longobardi (1994), Siloni (1997), Chiercia (1998), Filip (1999), Lyons (1999) and Zamparelli (2000). Noteworthy collections of articles on the topic of determination have also been published, such as Auwera (1980), Vogeleer & Tasmowski (2006), Stark, Leiss & Abraham (2007), Alexiadou, Haegeman & Stavrou (2007), Collins (2014), Kabatek and Wall (2013). A contribution which in many ways stands out as a landmark, however, is Abney (1987), which set in motion an entirely new direction in research which changed focus from articles and demonstratives to uncovering functional layers in nominal structure.

 

Certain issues seem to recur throughout the literature such as the diachronic perspective on the development of definite articles from demonstratives through a process of grammaticalization, the layers of functional projections, overt and covert functional categories, cross-linguistic variation, the role of D-projection in nominals, and imposters.

 

Assigning indefinite articles, definite articles, demonstrative determiners, and other morphological material to different categories calls for a nominal structure with explicit layers of projections onto which the morphemes map. Such a structure is manifested as a series of projections. However, cross-linguistically there is substantial variation across languages in terms of which functional categories are overtly realised and in terms of mapping between lexical material and functional categories.

 

In a cross-linguistic perspective, several issues arise. Among others: (i) What is the inventory of lexical and functional categories? (ii) Are they primitive or composed elements? (iii) Is the inventory universal? (iv) How do we identify them?

 

Thus, this conference aims to offer a diverse view of the nominal determination and the correlations between internal nominal architecture and the grammatical interfaces, and it expects a range of new analyses of well-known problems, but it also new questions pointing to new areas which may prove interesting topics for research in Linguistics both in functional and formal paradigms.

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