By "expresses the category D" I mean, preferably, that there is solid evidence/argumentation for a given morpheme to be analyzed as overtly heading a Determiner projection. I would limit such expressions in this case to those communicating meaning like the definite article the, but not demonstratives like that.

By not displaying inverse scope, I mean that an equivalent translation of (1) would support the interpretation in (2) but not in (3). Perhaps the same for (4) with the interpretations paraphrased in (5) and (6):

  1. Some student saw every professor
  2. There is a (single) student (say, John) such that he saw every professor
  3. For every professor x, there is a (different) student that saw x
  4. There is a solution to every problem
  5. There is a (single) solution such that it applies to every problem
  6. For every problem x, there is a (different) solution for x
  • 2
    Can you elaborate on what a 'Determiner projection' is? and how 'the' is one, but 'that' is not (with a sentence examples preferably)? Also, What are your category D words in 1 and 4?
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 21:15
  • What exactly a D projection is is unclear. Boskovic's paper "What will you have, NP or DP?" limits its expression to at least a morpheme expressing definite reference, like "the" in English. Demonstratives may be yet again something else. Quantifiers like "some", "every", and the indefinite article "a" may be analyzed as D, maybe not. There are two aspects to my question which may not be obviously relevant to each other: I want to know if a lang has something like "the", and inverse scope interpretations of quantifiers. The examples need not contain D. Commented Nov 1, 2011 at 18:59
  • Pardon my misspeaking in this comment, I meant "I want to know if a lang has something like "the", but not inverse scope interpretations of quantifiers". Commented Nov 2, 2011 at 15:01

1 Answer 1


So, the hypercatergory D has been deconstructed since before it was accepted as the highest layer of the nominal, like in Szabolcsi's work that shows "every" being distinct from articles, and Shlonsky's work on "all" as its own weird category, "each" goes all over the place, and investigation in numerals and weak quantifiers suggest they form a unique category low enough in the structure for classifiers to cliticize. The one determiner that has stood the test of time is "the" (see Alexiadou, Haeheman, and Stavrou's book on the topic)

But, one such language, with that caveat and with another caveat to be named, is my pet language Bengali. It has -- again, arguably -- a D layer in that there is nominal-internal NP movement, over numerals. So:

tinTa    Sundor    beRal
three.Cl beautiful cat

Sundor    beRal tinTa
beautiful cat   three.Cl

"the three beautiful cats"

Also, I can't think of the reference, it it has been claimed that Bengali also has scrambling and strict scope -- with the exception of canonical SOV sentences! I'll add the citation later with examples.

  • I have narrowed the scope of the question to exclude languages that arguably show via construction that a determiner projection is present. I am doing this for my own selfish purposes, but in general, if there is a covert Determiner head, and NP moves to spec-DP, this may be sufficient to disallow what D's may ultimately be necessary for, which is Quantifier Raising. It would be nice to see if Bengale indeed has inverse scope, but whether this is the result of QR or of scrambling, as you mention. Commented Nov 1, 2011 at 18:57
  • And here I apologize for writing "Bengale" instead of "Bengali". Commented Nov 2, 2011 at 15:01

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