Telic events and definiteness in Hindi

Serena Danesi
Dipartimento di Linguistica Università di Pisa - Via Santa Maria 36 - 56126 Pisa (Italy)

Pubblicato 2010-01-16


It has often been claimed that the interaction between verb and object noun has consequences not only on the event type constitution but also on the properties of the nominal phrase. In particular, in article-less languages, telic predicates and the definite reading would be directly related. This pa- per presents a case study on Hindi compound verbs. Such constructions denote telic predicates and, as a consequence, they should involve the defi- nite reading of the object. I will try to show that such generalization is not correct since telicity only entails complete affection of the object, hence its referentiality, but not its definiteness. My hypothesis is that telic predicates require a discourse referent for their object noun and I claim that nothing more than this can be inferred since definiteness in Hindi is not a gram- matical category and a referent may be definite as well as not, depending on factors having nothing to do with the event type constitution of the verb.