w22a Plural (count) nouns in vocative phrases can be bare

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    Plural nouns in vocative phrases

    To code for all possibilities, and for ease of the task, there are five property definitions for singular count nouns in vocative phrases:

    can be bare, must have an article, can have an article, must have a special vocative marker, can have a special vocative marker

w22a: Plural (count) nouns in vocative phrases can be bare

This property is set to "yes" if an unmodified morphologically plural noun in a vocative phrase can be “bare”.

A bare noun phrase, 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 definite plural noun in object position.

Elicitation Contexts

_________ ladies! Please, come here!
I am sorry, _________ men, I cannot answer your question.

Additional instructions

  1. The plural (count) noun must be unmodified (no quantifiers, no adjectives, no possessors, no relative clauses, no adpositional complements ...)
  2. The following classes of nouns should NOT be considered when checking this property:
    1. Proper names of people (Americans! Listen to me!)



English is “yes” for this property. Plural (count) nouns in vocative phrases can be bare.

(i)     thank you, ladies!
(ii)    I’m afraid, girls, that your grammar leaks
(iii)   come here, boys!


Italian is “yes” for this property. Plural (count) nouns in vocative phrases can be bare.

(i) ragazzi, passatemi la palla!
boys pass.2P.to.me the ball
boys, pass me the ball!

(ii) come state, amici?
how stay.2P friends
how are you, friends?


French is “yes” for this property. Plural (count) nouns in vocative phrases can be bare (Coene et al. 1999: ex 26).

(i) amis, partons tout de suite
friends leave.IMP.1P all of the rest
friends! Let’s leave straight away!


Rumanian is "yes" for this property. Plural (count) nouns in vocative phrases can be bare.

(i) oameni, veniti aici!
people.PL come.2P here
folks, come here!


Basque is “no” for this property. Plural (count) nouns in vocative phrases cannot be bare (Artiagoitia 2012: 36, ex 33b).

(i) *zatozte hona, mutil
come here boy
Intended: come here, boys!

They must have an article.

(ii) zatozte hona, mutilak
come here boy.ART.PL
Intended: come here, boys!

Contributed by: Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
Language Value Contributor Comments
  Words: Mmerantie mepaakyew mo bra ha.
  Gloss: pl.Young.man 2Pl come.IMP here
  Translation: ‘Youngman, please come here’
  Contributor: AUGUSTINA OWUSU
   Basaa Yes Paul Roger Bassong
   Calabrian (Northern) Yes Giuseppina Silvestri
+ Cantonese (Guangzhou) Yes Zixian Qiu
  Words: neoisi-mun, ceng gwolei
  Gloss: lady-PL please come-here
  Translation: Ladies, please come here.
  Contributor: Zixian Qiu
   Cypriot Greek Yes Marios Andreou
+ Dida Lakota (diéko) Yes Gohon Fabienne Stéphanie Attéby
  Words: wɛ̰́nɛ̰́ ā jɪ̄ dā
  Gloss: woman.pl you come here
  Translation: women, come here !
  Comment: ALS4 workshop 2016
  Contributor: Gohon Fabienne Stéphanie Attéby
   Dutch Yes Hilda Koopman
   English Yes the property authors
   Faroese Yes Hjalmar Páll Petersen
   French No Hilda Koopman
   French (Ivorian) No Akpoué Josué
   Greek Yes Dimitris Michelioudakis
   Greek (Calabria) Yes Cristina Guardiano
+ Greek (Cappadocian) Yes Petros Karatsareas
  Words: pu na pat néces (Kostakis 1962: 134)
  Gloss: where FUT go.PRS.2PL woman.PL.VOC
  Translation: where are you going, women?
  Contributor: Petros Karatsareas
   Hebrew (Biblical) No Massimo Gargiulo "The person that is addressed (vocative), since it is always determinate, should always have the article; in fact the article is often omitted, especially in poetry or in loft prose. O sons never has the article" (Muraoka)
   Italian Yes Cristina Guardiano
   Italian (Reggiano) Yes Giovanni Roversi
   Korean Yes Shin-Sook Kim
   Latin Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Portuguese Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Romanian Yes Monica Alexandrina Irimia
   Russian Yes Nina Radkevich
   Sicilian Yes Cristina Guardiano
+ Teramano Yes Iara Mantenuto
  Words: wajə, passatəmə ssa pallə!
  Gloss: kid.PL.M give3PL.me that.SG.F ball.SG.F
  Translation: ‘Kids, give me that ball!’
  Contributor: Iara Mantenuto
   Tupi (Ancient) Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Turkish Yes Sozen Ozkan
   Wuhu Chinese Yes Zhuo Chen
   Xhosa Yes Xiujie Ma