Noun Phrase Interpretations and Situation

by Fumito MIZUNO

Common noun phrases have more than one interpretation. Ever since Carlson 1977, kind interpretation and object interpretation are assumed to be the two basic interpretations. Japanese bare nouns are more complex, since Japanese lacks overt determiners and nouns are ambiguous between existential interpretation and definite interpretation. Not only that, common noun phrases can be used as if they were proper nouns, for example, shushoo `prime minister' can be used to refer to the specific individual. This paper discusses these various interpretations of noun phrases and how interpretations are determined in a given situation. My proposal is that the situation determines the interpretations of common noun phrases. Adding the notion of situation into the Derived Kind Predication (DKP), proposed by Chierchia 1998, relations of existential interpretation, definite interpretations and unique, proper-noun like interpretations of common noun phrases are explained uniformly and straightforwardly.

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