Anaphoric variability in Kannada bare nominals

  • Sadhwi Srinivas John Hopkins University
  • Kyle Rawlins John Hopkins University


Though Kannada bare nominals are commonly used in contexts where they behave like definite descriptions, the definite reading of the bare noun is unavailable (or highly dispreferred) in certain anaphoric environments despite the presence of a suitable antecedent. In this paper, we observe that these are usually contexts where it is unclear whether the sentence topic contains the intended referent. We formalize this characterization within a situational-uniqueness based account for definiteness, and explain the limited uses of anaphoric bare definites as an interaction between this view of definiteness and an ambiguity analysis of the Kannada bare noun wherein they are capable of denoting kinds/indefinite entities as well, in addition to definites.