w08a Proper names in object position can be bare

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    Proper names in object position

    To code for all possibilities, and for ease of the task, there are four property definitions for proper names in object position:

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

w08_a: Proper names in object position can be bare

This property is set to 'yes' if unmodified proper names object position can be bare.

A bare proper name, For the purposes of this set of properties,

  1. lacks an “article” (or, if the language doesn’t have article, a phonologically weak, deictically unmarked demonstrative)
  2. (for languages without articles but with classifiers, noun classes, case, adpositional endings…) exhibits no structural alternation with noun phrases containing a singular count noun
  3. [ More contexts]

Elicitation contexts

I invited John
I saw Mary

Additional instructions

  1. This property applies only to proper names (I saw Mary), not to definite singular count nouns (I saw the girl)
  2. Please, do NOT use kinship nouns (like mum, dad, …) to test this property
  3. The proper name must be unmodified (no adjectives, no possessors, no relative clauses, no other modifiers …)
  4. [ More contexts]
  5. If there is more than one object position in your language, test this property for each position.
  6. [ More contexts]
  7. If you notice any difference between affirmative and negative contexts (i.e. I saw John vs. I didn’t see John), please comment (or contact us).



English is “yes” for this property. Proper names in object position can be bare.

(i)     I met John


Italian is “yes” for this property. Proper names in subject and object position can be bare. (Longobardi 1994).

(i)     Ho incontrato Gianni
         I met John


Modern Greek is “no” for this property. Proper names in subject and object position cannot be bare.

(i) * sinàntisa Jannis
meet.PST.1S John
Intended: I met John

They always occur with the definite article.

(ii) sinàntisa ton Jannis
meet.PST.1S the.ACC.SING John
I met John

Contributed by: Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
Language Value Contributor Comments
  Words: Me frɛ -ɛ Kofi.
  Gloss:  1SG call –Pst Kofi
  Translation: I called Kofi
  Contributor: AUGUSTINA OWUSU
   Ancient Greek Yes Cristina Guardiano
   Armenian (Eastern) No Sona Haroutyunian
+ Basaa Yes Paul Roger Bassong
  Words: Mɛ bí-náŋá Ntɔ́ɔgɛ
  Gloss: I PST2-invite 1.PN
  Translation: 'I invited Ntɔɔgɛ'
  Contributor: Paul Roger Bassong
   Calabrian (Northern) Yes Giuseppina Silvestri
+ Cantonese (Guangzhou) Yes Zixian Qiu
  Words: ngo jiuceng-zo John
  Gloss: I invite-PFV John
  Translation: I invited John.
  Contributor: Zixian Qiu
   Cypriot Greek No Marios Andreou
   Danish Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Dida Lakota (diéko) Yes Gohon Fabienne Stéphanie Attéby
  Words: Ī nî mu̍kɔ
  Gloss: I see.PERF Moko
  Translation: I saw Moko
  Contributor: Gohon Fabienne Stéphanie Attéby
+ Dutch Yes Hilda Koopman
  Words: Ik heb Marie gisteren ontmoet
  Gloss: I have Mary yesterday met
  Translation: I met Marie yesterday
  Contributor: Hilda Koopman
   English Yes the property authors
   Faroese Yes Hjalmar Páll Petersen
   French Yes Hilda Koopman
   French (Ivorian) Yes Akpoué Josué
+ Gothic Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
  Words: wileima Iesu gasaihvan.
  Gloss: want.1PL.PRS Jesus.ACC see.INF
  Translation:  we would see Jesus. (Jo 12:21)
  Contributor: Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Greek No Giorgos Spathas
  Words: *Sinandis-a Jan-i.
  Gloss: meet-1.SG.PST.PFV John-SG.ACC
  Translation: I met John.
  Contributor: Giorgos Spathas
   Greek (Calabria) No Cristina Guardiano
   Greek (Cappadocian) No Petros Karatsareas
   Greek (Homer) Yes Cristina Guardiano
+ Hebrew (Biblical) Yes Massimo Gargiulo
  Words: beyom bero' 'elohim 'adam (Gen 5,1)
  Gloss: in the day.PREP-NOUN created.INF God Adam.PROP. NAME
  Translation: in the day when God created Adam (al. the man)
  Contributor: Massimo Gargiulo
   Italian Yes Cristina Guardiano
   Italian (Reggiano) Yes Giovanni Roversi Feminine names take the definite article; masculine names do not.
   Korean Yes Shin-Sook Kim
+ Kusaal Yes Hasiyatu Abubakari
  Words: Adoluba sa nyɛ Asibi.nama
  Gloss: Adoluba PRT see Asibi.pl
  Translation: Adoluba saw Asibi
  Comment: The use of the article here is derogatory.
  Contributor: Hasiyatu Abubakari
  Contributor: Hasiyatu Abubakari
   Latin Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Oluwanga (Eji) Yes Ceciliane Odangah
  Words: Nd -a-lola Naliaka
  Gloss: 1sg- PST -see Naliaka
  Translation: I saw Naliaka.
  Contributor: Ceciliane Odangah
   Portuguese Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Romanian No Monica Alexandrina Irimia
   Russian Yes Nina Radkevich
   Sicilian Yes Cristina Guardiano
+ Spanish Yes Alejandro Rodriguez
  Words: Leí Pablo Neruda en la clase de literatura española
  Gloss: read.PST.1SG P. N. in the.F class of literature Spanish
  Translation: I read Pablo Neruda in spanish literature class
  Comment: Only in the alternation that is visible with surnames of "distinguished" individuals
  Contributor: Alejandro Rodriguez
+ Teramano Yes Iara Mantenuto
  Words: so invititə dʒuvannə
  Gloss: be.1SG invited Giovanni
  Translation: ‘I have invited Giovanni.’
  Contributor: Iara Mantenuto
   Tupi (Ancient) Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Turkish No Sozen Ozkan
+ Vietnamese Yes Jimmy Nguyen
  Words: Chị đã gặp Jimmy rồi.
  Gloss: I PST meet Jimmy already
  Translation: I’ve already met Jimmy.
  Contributor: Jimmy Nguyen
   Wuhu Chinese Yes Zhuo Chen