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The Morphosyntactic Interface of Determiner Phrases

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DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2013.34047    3,593 Downloads   5,495 Views  

ABSTRACT

The functional category of determiners has undergone a number of representational changes in the last half century. Beginning with Abney in 1987 and as early as work by Brame (1981, 1982) and Postal (1966), linguists began to adapt the notion that determiners were a type of functional category with phrasal structure, and not specifiers of noun phrases. The flexibility allotted to this category to hold a significant role in syntactic structure has led to theories of feature and feature strength and the development of these features in first and second language acquisition. This paper seeks to review the current theories of syntactic structure of determiner phrases in English and universally. In particular, it examines one area of controversy regarding this category, namely nominal gender agreement, and how this affects applied areas of linguistics. Recent studies seem to favor specific transfer theories, however the default hypothesis that arises leaves much to be considered. From the discussion, we argue that gender feature agreement in L1 and L2 acquisition is distinct and merits further investigation, perhaps benefiting from the recent developments in the area of psycholinguistics.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Klassen, G. & Schwieter, J. (2013). The Morphosyntactic Interface of Determiner Phrases. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 3, 360-366. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2013.34047.

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