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What is a zero?

 

Definition
 

Here are two senses for zero:

 
  1. A zero is a constituent proposed in an analysis to represent an element held to be present at an abstract level but not realized in the data.
  2. A zero is a unit proposed as a contrast to an element that might otherwise be present.
Examples (English)
 
  • A zero morph (Ø) proposed for the plural of sheep.
  • A zero conjunction proposed for he said Ø he was coming, in contrast with he said that he was coming.
  • A zero realization of a semantic argument proposed for the second clause in I eat breakfast before 7 A.M.; John eats Ø about 8 A. M.
 
Sources:

Crystal 1980 388

 

Fleming 1988 41

Generic
  A zero is a kind of
 
Sources
 

Crystal 1980 388

 

Robins 1971 note, 212

 

Fleming 1988 41


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