I often see a noun such as "Jimmy" in my textbook represented as [DP_Jimmy]. But there is no more detail provided as to its internal structure. This means either the D is null such as: enter image description here

or that "Jimmy" is functioning as a D, represented as

enter image description here

I suppose, like many things in linguistics, this may vary depending on your framework--but which one is more acceptable?

1 Answer 1


Proper nouns when considered as DPs will be merged with a phonetically null determiner. We can make this specific by positing that certain phonetically null determiners bear a uproper feature, that is an uninterpretable proper feature. This means that these Ds will merge with NPs bearing the feature proper.

enter image description here

We can complicate this further if we assume a nominal shell structure for the NP Jimmy.

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