Caseless nominals and the projection of DP

Gabi Danon

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39 Scopus citations


Modern Hebrew differentiates between definite and indefinite objects, using a prepositional object marker only in front of definites. This article explores the hypothesis that lack of an object marker when the object is indefinite follows from lack of abstract Case on indefinite objects. It is shown that indefinites in Hebrew are allowed in various other positions in which Case seems to be unavailable and in which definites are not allowed, a fact that receives a straightforward account under the proposed hypothesis that indefinites do not require Case. The possibility of having Caseless indefinites is then argued to follow from lack of a DP projection in Hebrew indefinites. The second part of this article aims to show that an analysis of indefinites in Hebrew as lacking a DP projection is indeed possible and can be motivated on independent grounds. This involves a reexamination of the arguments that have motivated the influential N-to-D analysis of Semitic noun phrases. I claim that most previous work on Semitic nominals is in fact compatible with an analysis in which nouns do not raise as high as the D position, and that the hypothesis that indefinites in Hebrew are not full DPs has some explanatory advantages over the view that all construct state nominals in Hebrew are DPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-1008
Number of pages32
JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2006


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