4.3 Multiple Determiners
|(62)||all the many disappointment|
Traditionally, the determiner which appears in the middle is called a Central Determiner, the one in front a Pre-determiner and the one following a Post-determiner. One might think that an appropriate analysis for this kind of structure would be as follows:
Unfortunately however this fails to capture some rather basic facts about multiple determiners and it also complicates the theory of heads to some extent. The first problem is obvious: if a determiner like the can take a DP as its complement, why can it not take any DP complement? The only ‘DP’ that can follow this determiner is one headed by a post-determiner:
|(64)||a||the few good ideas|
|b||*the all men|
|c||*the this mistake|
In general then, the structure in (63) predicts that determiners can come in any order within the DP and moreover there can be any number of them. Neither of these expectations is true. The second problem lies in the fact that this suggestion forces us to accept that determiners do not just take NP complements; they can take DP complements as well. We will see in later chapters that it is very typical of functional heads to take just one kind of complement, and no functional head takes a DP complement. DP complements seem to be restricted to thematic heads and so it is unlikely that a determiner should be able to take one.
So what is the proper analysis of multiple determiners? The easiest case to deal with is the post-determiner. We argued in chapter 1 that these are adjectival elements which are undefined for the F feature and hence are neither functional nor thematic adjectives. The fact that they may be modified in the same way as thematic adjectives, however, indicates that they head APs:
|(65)||a||his [AP very few] good ideas|
|b||my [AP not so many] disastrous parties|
We can see from this that the traditional term ‘post-determiner’ is a rather misleading one as they are not determiners, nor even heads but whole adjectival phrases. Where is this AP situated? Clearly it follows the determiner and what follows the head is its complement. But determiners do not take AP, but NP complements. It must therefore be the case that post-determiners occupy a position within the NP complement of the determiner, the specifier position of the NP complement. Thus, we have the following structure:
This leaves the pre-determiners to accommodate. These are more problematic. However, it turns out that pre-determiners are not such a special class of determiner after all, once one considers the following:
|(67)||a||all (of) the people|
|b||those of his students who knew him|
|c||few of his enemies|
The only difference between pre-determiners and other determiners is that when they appear in front of a DP the pre-determiner has an optional of whereas this is obligatory with other types of determiner. The fact that we can have a post-determiner in this position is interesting. We have stated that these come in specifier of NP, but where is the NP in (67c) that the post-determiner is in the specifier of? If there is an NP in this structure the head of which cannot be seen, it seems that we are forced to assume that this head is an unpronounced empty category and therefore the structure must be something like the following:
Of course, as we saw previously, caution must be exercised in proposing such empty heads to ensure that they are independently motivated and not just assumed to make the analysis work. It turns out that there is a good deal of independent evidence for the existence of this empty noun.
First, consider the presence of the preposition of which is obligatory in nearly all structures of this type, with the exception of the ‘pre-determiners’. This is the preposition we find when there is a noun which takes a DP complement:
|(69)||a||an illustration of [DP the technique]|
|b||a publication of [DP names and addresses]|
|c||the theory of [DP relativity]|
|d||the record of [DP his birth]|
This preposition has no meaning in these structures and it is fairly obvious that the semantic relationships hold between the noun and the following DPs. This can be most obviously seen from the fact that the verbs from which some of these nouns are formed are transitive and have no need of the preposition to express their relationship with the DP complement:
|(70)||a||to illustrate [DP the technique]|
|b||to publish [DP names and addresses]|
|c||to record [DP his birth]|
The object of the verb is associated with accusative Case and hence must be in a Case position. But the object of the noun is not associated with any Case; indeed nouns in general cannot take bare object. We can account for these observations if we simply assume that the complement position of a noun is a Caseless position. Given the Case Filter introduced in the previous chapter, it follows that DPs are not allowed to occupy such a position at S-structure. There is nothing to prevent a noun from taking a DP complement at D-structure, however, and thematically it seems to be the case that many nouns do have DP arguments which all surface as PPs headed by the meaningless preposition of. We might therefore assume that this preposition is inserted into the structure at S-structure so that the Case Filter may be satisfied.
Note that the object of a preposition is an accusative position and hence that prepositions are Case assigners. Inserting of then allows an otherwise Caseless DP to be assigned Case. Of-insertion is however a very limited phenomenon. It happens with the DP complements of nouns and adjectives and nowhere else which might be argued to be a Caseless position:
|(71)||a||a knowledge of karate|
|b||fed up of fish fingers|
|c||*of him to pay his debts|
It seems therefore that the appearance of the meaningless of is a good indication of the presence of a noun or an adjective. In the structure we are considering concerning the pre-determiner, the appearance of the of can be taken as strong evidence in favour of the presence of a noun even though one is not visible.
Another argument for the existence of the empty noun in pre-determiner constructions comes from their interpretation. Compare the following examples:
|(72)||a||some of the dancers|
|b||a group of the dancers|
These two constructions are interpreted in very similar ways. (72b) involves a measure or group noun, which we have argued are non-thematic nouns lacking a specification for the F feature. Semantically these work in a very uniform way: the complement of the group noun identifies a set of individuals (in this case the dancers) and the group noun focuses on a part of this set by dividing the set up into natural quantities (groups of individuals, bottles of wine, cups of tea, etc.). This is exactly how the structure with the pre-determiner is interpreted: the set is identified by the inner DP (the dancers) and this set is partitioned into natural quantities (individual dancers in this case) and the pre-determiner quantifies these.
One possible way to account for this similarity is to assume that the empty noun in the pre-determiner structure works like a group or measure noun. Thus, if this can be maintained, there is semantic evidence for the presence of the empty noun. We can take this further by the following observation. Group nouns allow their DP complements to be fronted:
|(73)||a||of the dancers, a group were selected to perform|
|b||of the wine, ten bottles remained unopened|
|c||of the tea, three cups were set aside|
|(74)||a||*of Bugsy, a photograph was distributed|
|b||*of relativity, a theory was proposed|
|c||*of linguistics, a student was examined|
With pre-determiner structures, the fronting of the of-phrase is also possible:
|(75)||a||of the dancers, some were sent home|
|b||of my family, all were famous cuckoo clock engineers|
As this phenomenon is restricted to structures involving group nouns, it seems that this is strong evidence in favour of the assumption that pre-determiner constructions involve a group noun in the position we have proposed an empty category.
If this analysis can be maintained, then we can claim that pre-determiners are no different to other determiners (apart from the optionality of of) in that they may introduce a DP that has an NP complement with an empty head: