, Volume 3, Issue 2-3, pp 221-246

Representing Referential Properties of Nominals

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Abstract

This paper concerns grammatical phenomena sensitive to certain classes of nominal forms, i.e., those that encode different kinds of referential properties of the nominal. We propose a grammar component for defining and picking out such semantic classes of nominal forms within typed feature structure formalisms such as the one used in HPSG, thus aiming at standardizing the representation of such phenomena. The grammar component includes four semantic features associated with the discourse referent of a nominal, i.e., cognitive status, specificity, partitivity, and whether the nominal has a universal interpretation or not. The proposed grammar component reduces to an assumed minimum a relatively large set of features that have already been proposed in analyses of the kind of phenomena at focus here, and it is hypothesized that parts of the structure are likely to be shared among grammars for different languages.