Bare PPs from a Multilingual Perspective
Klis, M.H. van der
MetadataShow full item record
When trying to understand what language is all about, prepositional phrases without a determiner (bare PPs) form an interesting hurdle. When one, for example, contrasts ‘John is in prison’ with ‘John is in a/the prison’, one immediately notes that the absence of the determiner yields a special reading: in the first sentence, John is not only on visit, but he is clearly incarcerated. How could such an absence of form lead to an enrichment in meaning? And are there more nouns like ‘prison’ to be found? However, for bare PPs, this is far from the whole story. In the literature, one also finds another type of bare PPs. A primary example of this class is ‘by’, which can be combined with any noun that denotes a form of transportation (by bus, by car, by helicopter). Here, we see that there is no syntactic competition with the ‘full’ form, as e.g. ‘by the bus’ is ungrammatical. Still, the question is (1) what exactly is the semantics of such expressions and (2) whether there are more prepositions like ‘by’. With (monolingual) corpus research, the posed questions for the two kinds of bare PPs in both English and Dutch will be answered. After that, for cross-linguistic analysis, a corpus consisting of two-way translated proceedings of the European Parliament will be employed. Such a multilingual corpus will be found extremely well-suited for getting to grips with the semantics of bare PPs.