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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

There has been much debate concerning the meaning of (proper) names, and particularly the names of persons, and particularly whether they are to be attributed with sense. But there has been almost a consensus that grammatically names are a sub-type of noun: they are ‘proper’ vs. ‘common nouns’. Examination of the grammar of names reveals a rather more complex situation. In the first place, names do not have a uniform grammar, as revealed by their behaviour in nominations (baptisms) and vocatives. Secondly, elsewhere, they are lexically definite in many languages, necessarily analytically definite in others. And, overall, they share syntactic properties more with pronouns than nouns. This correlates with the semantics of the three classes: though all three have to do with the signification of entities, nouns denote sub-classes of entities, names and some pronouns have definite reference to individuals.

Keywords: (proper) names, sense, denotation, and reference, part of speech, (common) nouns, nomination, vocatives, lexical and analytic definiteness, pronouns

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