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Abstract

This paper offers a corpus-based study of the (restricted) modification patterns of predicatively used bare nouns in French (e.g. Je suis bon catholique‘I am a good Catholic’). These are ‘truly’ bare in that they do not rely on a covert determiner. The aim of the paper is to determine which modification patterns are allowed and to provide a semantic-functional explanation. Further, on the basis of this study, some conclusions can be drawn both about the categorial status of the bare predicative noun and about the internal architecture of type specification, the innermost functional layer within the NP. More specifically, the study of bare nouns leads to the identification of several lower-level slots that are independent of the instantiation of a particular nominal entity in conceptual space. These are to be distinguished from higher-level modifiers. To end, some additional syntactic contexts are provided in which bare nouns occur. These display identical restrictions with respect to modification, but differ in the array of lexical heads they allow for.