Description and determination in Tanti Dargwa NPs
This paper focuses on the noun phrase in Tanti Dargwa (East Caucasian) and presents evidence for the distinction between modifiers proper (adjectival phrases, participial relative clauses and non-genitive adnominal NPs) and determiner-like elements (demonstratives, indefinite pronouns, numerals and most quantity expressions) in this language. Crucially, this dichotomy, which presumably reflects the distinction between the determinative and descriptive components in the NP, is realized in Tanti Dargwa mostly morphologically – in the distribution of “attributive markers” and in the expression of number. Syntactically, in the most neutral constructions the order of elements other than the head is virtually free and does not display any scope-related effects, while the head occupies the final position. In addition, Tanti Dargwa shows marginal constructions (a right-periphery construction locating a modifier after the head and a construction showing quasi-incorporation of a modifier into the noun) which are restricted to modifiers. Tanti Dargwa data support the idea that the description/determination distinction is gradual rather than discrete, as there are elements that show behavior intermediate between modifiers proper and determiner-like elements: possessor NPs, contrastive modifiers and the expressions like ‘other’.