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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2003, Vol. 34, No. 2, Pages 281-292
(doi: 10.1162/ling.2003.34.2.281)
© 2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
One, Empty Nouns, and θ-Assignment
Article PDF (73.44 KB)
Abstract

The standard analysis that the “pronominal count noun” one is an N′- or NP-level element is challenged and it is argued to be an N0. Moreover, the behavior of one is identified with that of a phonologically empty counterpart. The fact that these N heads lack descriptive content is shown to be the source of two of their distinctive properties: their inability to take arguments, which accounts for their superficially phrasal status, and their triggering of pronominal reference. The existence of a [pronominal] feature is argued against; instead, such noun heads' lack of descriptive content is claimed to be what LF interprets as “pronominal.”