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  • Struktura imennoj gruppy v bezartiklevom jazyke [Structure of the Noun Phrase in an articleless language] by Ekaterina A. Lyutikova
  • Nerea Madariaga1
Ekaterina A. Lyutikova. Struktura imennoj gruppy v bezartiklevom jazyke [Structure of the Noun Phrase in an articleless language]. Moscow: Jazyki slavjanskoj kul'tury, 2018. 438 pp.

This book represents a milestone in an academic life largely dedicated to the formal and comparative-typological study of the noun phrase in diverse natural languages. As Professor Lyutikova acknowledges in the introduction, this book is a compilation of many of the data and results of her productive and fruitful career, paying special attention to those phenomena related to the nominal domain, recently gathered together in her post-doctoral (habilitation) thesis.2

In this work, the author argues in favor of a unified micro-parametric account for the differences between NPs in languages with articles and articleless languages. More specifically, she provides arguments in favor of a lexical parametrization of the D category (cf. the Borer-Chomsky Conjecture), in the sense that articleless languages do have a real, albeit silent, D head, whereas in languages with articles D is lexically realized. Her hypothesis is grounded in certain ideas that are well-established in the field, such as the categorial status and semantic interpretation of NPs and the universality of the syntax-semantic interface (the syntactic representation of the semantic types).

The book is organized according to the following structure. There is a brief introduction. Then, the main chapters of the book (chapters 1 to 4) follow, each dedicated to one "big" topic concerning the nominal domain in formal syntax. These chapters acquaint the reader with the author's arguments in favor of a unified account of D in all natural languages, despite the absence of overt articles in some of them. In addition to the partial conclusions given at [End Page 227] the end of each chapter, there is a final short conclusion at the end, followed by a list of abbreviations, references, and languages mentioned in the book.

In the Introduction (9–21), the author defines two ways of examining linguistic variation, the typological and the generative frameworks, highlighting the differences between the two approaches and arguing in favor of the notion of parameter as a way to account for the linguistic diversity, restricting it at the same time. The global cross-linguistic situation and distribution of articleless languages vs. languages with articles is described, together with the most relevant hypotheses on the topic: (A) Szabolcsi's (1987) DP-hypothesis that every NP has an extended functional projection realized as D and (B) Bošković's (2008) proposal that articleless languages lack the D category and have only NP. Throughout the subsequent chapters, Lyutikova pursues the former hypothesis, showing that even articleless languages do project a DP-level the same as languages with articles.

Chapter 1 (23–125) deals with the structure of DP. The author shows that certain properties of the DP-layer in languages with articles are also met in articleless languages. First she explains the arguments supporting hypothesis (B) above, based on Left Branch Extraction, semantic types, and the "adjectival" nature of potential D-elements in articleless languages and immediately rejects them in favor of her own hypothesis (A). Further, she offers extensive arguments in favor of hypothesis (A), based on the landing position of elements undergoing inversion, the interpretation of possessives according to their position, the distribution of whole DPs vs. smaller phrases (NP/QP) in articleless languages, and the "barrier" properties of DPs, as compared to "penetrability" effects of smaller NPs, in accordance with Pereltsvaig's (2006) hypothesis on Small Nominals. These effects are illustrated with data that range from island and extraction properties in Russian idioms to properties of argumental completive clauses in Ossetian, another articleless language. For example, rarer combinations of light verbs plus deverbal nouns in Russian (e.g., zaslužit′ prava 'deserve rights') behave as DPs in languages with articles, evidencing a rich functional structure in Russian nominal phrases, whereas other more frequent or natural combinations show the properties of smaller NPs (e.g., imet′ prava 'have rights').

In chapter 2 (127–92), Lyutikova offers a detailed analysis of the...


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