Some properties of D

(a) Sometimes determiners do not have a phonological form:

e.g. bare plurals: I like (/) books.
e.g. mass nouns: (/) Oil was leaking from the furnace.
In these cases, we assume that Dį exists in the form of a feature bundle but has no overt realisation.

(b) Determiners are considered as functional heads which take an NP-complement. Determiners can have specifiers in the form of possessives. In such a case they bear the functional feature [+Poss] and are lexically empty.

Peterís book

Evidence for the fact that these possessives are inside the DP: they are usually in complementary distribution with the determiner, i.e. when there is a determiner, there must be no possessive DP and vice versa:

*Peterís the book
*the Peterís book

Evidence for the fact that they are in the specifier of DP (rather than in the head position) comes from rare cases where possessive DPs and determiners co-occur:

the kingís every wish

(Note: In English only every or a lexically empty D[+poss] allow a specifier, but in other languages this is a regular characteristic of D.)

(c) The analysis of pronouns and proper nouns:
Since pronouns replace a full DP consisting of a determiner and a noun complement (e.g. he replacing the man), it has been suggested that they are DPs with no internal structure. Proper nouns (such as names or place names) are analysed analogously.

Exercises on properties of D