The Undetermined Mechanism: Definiteness Marking on Modified Nouns in Danish

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Scandinavian languages differ in their determiner use on modified nouns. Particularly Danish seems unique in its apparent blocking effect of adjectives: the presence of a prenominal adjectival modifier seems to prevent definiteness suffixation on the noun, which is instead made definite by an independent preadjectival article. Different proposals have been put forward in an attempt to account for this phenomenon, as well as definiteness marking on modified nouns in Scandinavian in general. Ranging from syntactic accounts with either one or two DP-layers to post-syntactic accounts proposing definiteness marking through a morphological process, the topic of definiteness marking in Scandinavian is still actively debated in the field. With a specific focus on Danish, this thesis will compare the advantages and disadvantages of these proposals by studying their analysis of definiteness marking on nouns modified by a prenominal adjective, by relative clauses, and by postnominal PPs, as well as their inclusion of the different semantic features that the prenominal and postnominal article contribute. It will turn out that none of the considered analyses have been completely successful in accounting for the surface distribution nor for the semantic features realized by the two articles, which leaves the field open for exploring another possible domain of definiteness marking: prosodic phrases.
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