I am mostly wondering if proper nouns exhibit distributional and/or morphological peculiarities that set them apart from pronouns from a broad typological perspective.


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A distinction between common and proper nouns is a semantic one, not grammatical. There is nothing special in a morphology of proper nouns, as any common noun can become a proper noun. In fact most proper nouns were at some point common. e.g. brand names like Windows, surnames like Smith, etc.

Pronoun is not a type of noun. It's a word, typically shorter one, that may substitute a noun or a noun-phrase in a sentence. e.g. you, their, which.

They aren't easily comparable with each other.

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    Some languages distinguish proper nouns (or some subset) from common nouns for some grammatical processes. Turkish has a special “Sezer stress” pattern associated with place names, and some languages use an article for personal names that is different from the article used for common nouns. Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 4:53
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  • Even in English, grammatically, proper nouns act a lot more like pronouns than either do like common nouns. For example, common nouns take determiners (the, a, this, any, no, every) and can take adjectives, unlike pronouns or most cases of proper nouns. In addition, semantically, common nouns tend to refer to general sets of entities, but pronouns and proper nouns are used for specific entities. Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 5:37
  • @matan-matika good point but I'm not fully convinced. You can still say things like "any Joe Shmoe can see this politician is a liar" - here you use proper noun to stand in for a common meaning.
    – Milo Bem
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 11:33
  • I'd argue that Joe Schmoe is a common noun and non a proper noun, but you are right that plenty of words can have either distribution Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 15:14

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