A lexical semantics for musical instrument nouns in Dutch
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In most languages, nominals generally occur with a determiner. In contrast, musical instrument constructions in Dutch can often be bare: not just in the presence of a verb, noun or preposition, but also on their own in subject position. Musical instrument constructions that are not bare are also interesting. The non-bare noun phrase can denote more than just the physical object: for example, it can also denote the music being made by an instrument. We have looked at referential and lexical properties of nouns in general, and showed how a referential and a lexical framework can account for the patterns of determination of musical instrument nouns. We propose a lexical structure modified from Pustejovsky (1995), where his qualia structure is replaced by relational properties, that are not tied to specific lexical items. These relational properties involve the relation between the arguments of a lexical item. For musical instruments, the relation between the two arguments, physical object and the music is an agentive relation, since the physical object is needed to produce the music. Our structure can account for the patterning of musical instrument constructions in Dutch. Constructions that cannot be bare denote one of the arguments (i.e. the physical object or the music), constructions that are obligatorily bare denote the agentive reading of the relational properties. Finally, constructions that can both occur bare and non-bare refer to either the music or the agentive reading.