Login

w02b_Def mass Ns in O position: must have an article

Definition
Untitled Document

    Definite mass nouns in object position

    To code for all possibilities, and for ease of the task, there are three property definitions for definite mass nouns in object position:

    can be 'bare', must have an 'article', can have an 'article'


Definite mass nouns in object position must have an article


This property is set to 'yes' if an unmodified, definite, mass noun in object position must:

  1. occur with an article
  2. (for languages without articles but with classifiers, noun classes, case, adpositional endings, etc) exhibit structural alternation with noun phrases containing:
    1. an indefinite mass noun, and/or
    2. a definite singular or plural count noun

Elicitation context

Speaker A and speaker B are back from the supermarket. Speaker A says:

Please, put _____ milk in the fridge!


Good answer in English: please, put the milk in the fridge (the milk is definite)

Infelicitous answer in English: please, put some milk in the fridge (some milk is indefinite)

Infelicitous answer in English: please, put milk in the fridge (milk is indefinite)

[ More contexts ]

Additional instructions

  1. The mass noun must be unmodified (no quantifiers, no adjectives, no possessors, no relative clauses, no adpositional complements)
  2. The sentence is affirmative, NOT negative, interrogative, ... (if you notice any difference between affirmative and negative/interrogative contexts, please comment, or contact us)
  3. The following classes of nouns should NOT be considered when checking this property:
    1. abstract nouns (John finds love everywhere)
    2. collective nouns (Italy changed government last week, I saw people at the party)
    3. singular nouns of chemical elements or other physical entities (I put oxygen in the tank)
    4. singular nouns of arts and sciences (I love chemistry)
    5. home
  4. If there is more than one object position in your language, test this property for each position

Examples

1.

English is 'yes' for this property: definite mass nouns in object position must have an article (i).They cannot be bare (ii).

    1. Context: Speaker A and speaker B are having dinner. There is water and cheese on the table. Speaker A says: Pass me the water!
    2. Context: Speaker A and speaker B are back from the supermarket. Speaker A says: Put the milk in the fridge!
    1. Context: Speaker A and speaker B are having dinner. There is water and cheese on the table. Speaker A says: *Pass me water!
    2. Context: Speaker A and speaker B are back from the supermarket. Speaker A says: *Put milk in the fridge!

2.

Basque is 'yes' for this property: definite mass nouns in object position must have an article.

i.

  • ardo-a edan dut
    wine-A drink AUX
    " I drank wine " (it can also mean I drank the wine)

They cannot be bare.

ii.

  • * ardo edan dut
    wine drink AUX
    " I drank wine "

3.

Hebrew is 'yes' for this property: definite mass nouns in object position must have an article.

i.

  • axalti et ha-basar
    I.ate ACC the-meat
    " I ate the meat"

They cannot be bare.

ii.

  • axalti basar
    I.ate meat
    " I ate meat" (cannot mean I ate the meat)

4.

Russian is 'no' for this property: definite mass nouns in object position do not have an article (i.b). The contrast between (i.a) and (i.b) shows that a mass noun with accusative case is compatible with both an indefinite (i.a) and an definite interpretation (i.b), thus counting as bare.

i.a

  • Ja dostala vino i syr iz xolodil'nika
    I take.out.PST.SG.FEM wine.ACC and cheese from fridge
    " I took wine and cheese from the fridge."

i.b.

  • Ja doela syr no ne smogla dopit' vino
    I eat.PST cheese.ACC but NEG could drink.up.INF wine.ACC
    " I ate the cheese but I wasn'™t able to drink the wine "
Contributed by: Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
Language Value Contributor Comments
+ Akan-twi Yes AUGUSTINA OWUSU
  Words: Me fa -a nsa no
  Gloss: 1SG take –Pst wine Def
  Translation: ‘I took the wine’
  Contributor: AUGUSTINA OWUSU
   Amharic Yes Hilda Koopman
   Ancient Greek Yes Cristina Guardiano
   Armenian (Eastern) Yes Sona Haroutyunian
+ Basaa No Paul Roger Bassong
  Words:  Maríya a- ń- dʒɛ́ máhɔ́ŋ
  Gloss:  1.Mary 1.SM-PRS-eat 6.fat
  Translation: ‘Mary is eating/eats fat’
  Comment: The word cheese has no exact equivalent in the language. However, terms like ‘cheese’ and ‘butter for instance are considered as being made up of fat, hence the term máhɔ́ŋ ‘fat’ to refer to oily/fatty substances.
  Contributor: Paul Roger Bassong
   Basque Yes Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
   Calabrian (Northern) Yes Giuseppina Silvestri
   Cantonese (Guangzhou) No Zixian Qiu
   Catalan Yes Victoria Mateu
   Chickasaw No Pam Munro
+ Croatian No Daniela Culinovic
  Words: Context:Speaker A and speaker B are having dinner. There is water and cheese on the table. Speaker A says: Dodaj mi vodu! Ja cu tebi sir.
  Gloss: pass.IMP.2SG me.DAT water.ACC, I will.FUT.1SG you.DAT cheese.ACC
  Translation:  Pass me the water, and I will pass you the cheese.
  Comment: Object with a genitive case would be ungrammatical in this context: *Dodaj mi vode.GEN.PL
  Contributor: Daniela Culinovic
+ Cypriot Greek Yes Marios Andreou
  Words: Eferen to nero.
  Gloss: Bring.PST.3SG DEF.SG.ACC water.SG.ACC
  Translation: She/he brought the water.
  Contributor: Marios Andreou
   Danish Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Dida Lakota (diéko) Yes Gohon Fabienne Stéphanie Attéby
  Words: zū ɲṵ̍ ā dùkù
  Gloss: put.IMP water DEF floo
  Translation: put the water on the floor.
  Comment: ALS4 workshop 2016
  Contributor: Gohon Fabienne Stéphanie Attéby
+ Dutch Yes Hilda Koopman
  Words: Ik heb de kaas maar eventjes in de ijskast gelegd.
  Gloss: I have the cheese PART PART in the fridge put
  Translation: (I went ahead and) I put the cheese in the fridge
  Contributor: Hilda Koopman
+ English Yes the property authors
  Words: Speaker A and speaker B are having dinner. There is water and cheese on the table. Speaker A says: Pass me the water!
  Contributor: the property authors
  Words: Speaker A and speaker B are having dinner. There is water and cheese on the table. Speaker A says: *Pass me water!
  Contributor: the property authors
  Words: Speaker A and speaker B are back from the supermarket. Speaker A says: Put the milk in the fridge!
  Contributor: the property authors
  Words: Speaker A and speaker B are back from the supermarket. Speaker A says: *Put milk in the fridge!
  Contributor: the property authors
   Faroese Yes Hjalmar Páll Petersen
+ Finnish Yes Anders Holmberg
  Words: Marja joi maidon
  Gloss: Marja drink.PST.3SG milk.ACC
  Translation: Marja drank the milk
  Comment: Definiteness encoded by case: PART vs. ACC
  Contributor: Hilda Koopman
   French Yes Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
+ French (Ivorian) Yes Akpoué Josué
  Words: Pardon, mets lait la dans (le) frigo/ mets le lait la dans le frigo
  Gloss: Please, put milk Def in (det) fridge/ put le milk Def in (det) fridge
  Translation: Please put the milk in the fridge
  Comment: The French article le is opitonal, but the final article la is obligatory. (le) is optional , but is more likely to be present depending on the degree of competence in French french.
  Contributor: Akpoué Josué
  Words: Pardon, mets lait la dans (le) frigo/ mets le lait la dans le frigo
  Comment: The postnominal article la is obligatory with definite objects.
  Contributor: Akpoué Josué
   Garifuna No Pam Munro
   German Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Gothic No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Greek Yes Giorgos Spathas
  Words: *Val-e krasi sto psiji-o.
  Gloss: put-3.SG.IMP wine.SG.ACC in.DEF.SG.ACC fridge-SG.ACC
  Translation: Put the wine in the fridge
  Comment: The example is grammatical under an indefinite interpretation of 'wine'.
  Contributor: Giorgos Spathas
   Greek (Calabria) Yes Cristina Guardiano
+ Greek (Cappadocian) Yes Petros Karatsareas
  Words: soŋa efae ce to mel=it epçe ce to ʃerbet=it (Dawkins 1916: 356)
  Gloss: afterwards eat.PST.3SG and ART.DEF.SG.ACC honey.SG.ACC=3SG.GEN drink.PST.3SG ART.DEF.SG.ACC wine.SG.ACC=3SG.GEN
  Translation: afterwards he both ate her honey and drank her wine
  Contributor: Petros Karatsareas
+ Greek (Homer) No Cristina Guardiano
  Words: κρητῆρι δὲ οἶνον μίσγον
  Gloss: bowl.DAT.SG CNJ wine.ACC mix.IPF.3PL
  Translation: and (they) mixed the wine in the bowl
  Comment:  Hom. Il. 3.269. Critical edition and translation: Homer. The Iliad with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1924.
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
   Greek (Pontic) Yes Cristina Guardiano and Dimitris Michelioudakis
   Guébie No Hannah Sande
   Hebrew Yes Assif Am-David
   Hebrew (Biblical) No Massimo Gargiulo
+ Hungarian Yes Anna Szabolcsi
  Words: Tedd el a tejet!
  Gloss: put.IMP.2SG away the milk-ACC
  Translation: Put the milk away.
  Contributor: Anna Szabolcsi
   imbabura quichua No Pam Munro
+ Italian Yes Cristina Guardiano
  Words: Ho comprato vino e acqua. Ho bevuto l' acqua ma ho lasciato il vino
  Gloss: have.1S bought wine and water. Have.1S drunk the water but I left the wine
  Translation: I bought wine and water. I drank the water but I left the wine.
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
  Words: Ho comprato vino e acqua. * Ho bevuto acqua ma ho lasciato vino
  Gloss: have.1S bought wine and water. Have.1S drunk water but I left wine
  Translation: Intended: I bought wine and water. I drank the water but I left the wine.
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
   Italian (Napoletano Antico) Yes Adam Ledgeway
   Italian (Reggiano) Yes Giovanni Roversi
+ Kannada (Bengaluru-Mysore) Yes Amrit Amritavalli
  Words: naanu niir-annu kuDide
  Gloss: I water-acc drink.pst.agr
  Translation: I drank the water
  Comment: acc is obligatory.
  Contributor: Amrit Amritavalli
   KiLega No Kasangati Kinyalolo
   Korean No Shin-Sook Kim
+ Kusaal Yes Hasiyatu Abubakari
  Words: Mbelimm ɛ , tisi-m kuom la, n na tis fu daam la
  Gloss: Please, give-1Sg.ACC water DEF, 1sg FUT give 2sg beer DEF
  Translation: Please pass me the water; I will pass you the beer.
  Contributor: Hasiyatu Abubakari
   Latin No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Latin (Late) No Chiara Gianollo
   Malagasy Yes Hilda Koopman
   Mandarin No Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
+ Muyang Yes Bebey Théodore
  Words: Kamkam, fiyú ɗewe ni a frigo-ni-vu
  Gloss: Please put milk def at fridge-def-in
  Translation: Please put the milk in the fridge
  Contributor: Bebey Théodore
  Words: Zuwá yama, nu ná rá nó zukuyá cheese nà
  Gloss: Bring water, I 1sg go 1sg bring cheese def
  Translation: Pass me water, I’ll give you the cheese
  Contributor: Bebey Théodore
  Words: Nu na zayà zum ndata cheese a frigo ni và. Nu no zúm cheese ni, ama ne shì zum ni ndo
  Gloss: I 1sg eat-P1 cheese def, but 1sg drink-P1wine def Neg
  Translation: I ate the cheese, but did’nt drink the wine
  Contributor: Bebey Théodore
   nda'nda' No Bertille Baron
+ Norwegian Yes Marit Julien
  Words: Sett mjølk-a i kjøleskap-et!
  Gloss: put milk-def in fridge-def
  Translation: Put the milk in the fridge!
  Contributor: Marit Julien
+ Nupe No Jason Kandybowicz
  Words: Musa gi nyagici
  Gloss: Musa eat food
  Translation: Musa ate the food
  Contributor: Jason Kandybowicz
   Old English Yes Willem Koopman
   Old Saxon Yes George Walkden
   Oluwanga (Eji) No Ceciliane Odangah
   Portuguese Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Romanian Yes Monica Alexandrina Irimia
   Russian No Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
   Samoan Yes Hilda Koopman the sg article le, plural zero occurs with indefinite/definite contexts with a commitment to existence of the individual(s); In contexts where there is no commitment to existence of the individual se/(sg) plural (ni) occurs.
   San Dionisio Ocotepec Zapotec No George Aaron Broadwell
+ Sicilian Yes Cristina Guardiano
  Words: m'akkattài vìnu e jàkkwa. Mi vìppi u vìnu ma lassài l'àkkwa
  Gloss: to.me bought.1S wine and water. To.me drank.1S the wine but left.1S the water
  Translation: I bought wine and water. I drank the wine but I left the water
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
  Words: m'akkattài vìnu e jàkkwa. *Mi vìppi vìnu ma lassài jàkkwa
  Gloss: to.me bought.1S wine and water. To.me drank.1S wine but left.1S water
  Translation: Intended: I bought wine and water. I drank the wine but I left the water
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
   Spanish Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Swedish Yes fredrik heinat
+ Teramano Yes Iara Mantenuto
  Words: so kumpratə lattə e vinə. So bivutə lu lattə ma so laʃatə lu vinə.
  Gloss: I.am bought milk and wine. I.am drank the milk but I.am left the wine
  Translation: I bought milk and wine. I drank the milk but I left the wine.
  Contributor: Iara Mantenuto
  Words: so kumpratə lattə e vinə. *So bivutə lattə ma so laʃatə vinə.
  Gloss: I.am bought milk and wine. I.am drank milk but I.am left wine.
  Translation: I bought milk and wine. I drank the milk but I left the wine.
  Contributor: Iara Mantenuto
   Tupi (Ancient) No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Turkish Yes Sozen Ozkan
  Words: Süt-ü dolab-a koy-du-m
  Gloss: milk-acc fridge-dat put-pst-1sg
  Translation: I put the milk in the fridge
  Contributor: Sozen Ozkan
   Vata No Hilda Koopman
   Vietnamese No Jimmy Nguyen
   Wolof Yes Cristina Guardiano
   Wuhu Chinese No Zhuo Chen