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The arguments for a class of elements called determiners to be an independent class of part of speech would be mainly syntactic. I recommend taking a look at Steven Abney's PhD-thesis:

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.38.7096

and a lot more work on DPs since then...

One could argue that determiners are a separate word class based on their syntactic properties, in English, but also in other languages, e.g. a class of mutually exclusive elements in a specific syntactic position in relation to head nouns. In English typical D elements would be articles, demonstratives, possessive pronouns, pronouns, some quantifiers, etc. The arguments for all those elements being determiners are structural, mutual exclusiveness, selectional properties (e.g. wrt. head noun), etc.

Articles and pronouns are mutually exclusive:

the house

* the he (he here not in the Stephen King sense, or to flip it around in the The The sense)

Articles and possessives are mutually exclusive:

the house

his house

* the his house

Some nouns are not compatible with certain articles:

he bought the furniture

* he bought a furniture

Determiners precede nouns and pre-nominal adjectives:

the green tree

* green the tree

etc.

Thus the assumption that Ds are heads of DPs that take NP complements:

[DP D [NP N ] ]

This might be the only part of speech that is motivated by mostly syntactic properties, rather than for example lexical or morphological (e.g. word-formation paradigm) ones.

The arguments for a class of elements called determiners to be an independent class of part of speech would be mainly syntactic. I recommend taking a look at Steven Abney's PhD-thesis:

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.38.7096

and a lot more work on DPs since then...

One could argue that determiners are a separate word class based on their syntactic properties, in English, but also in other languages, e.g. a class of mutually exclusive elements in a specific syntactic position in relation to head nouns. In English typical D elements would be articles, demonstratives, possessive pronouns, pronouns, some quantifiers, etc. The arguments for all those elements being determiners are structural, mutual exclusiveness, selectional properties (e.g. wrt. head noun), etc.

Articles and pronouns are mutually exclusive:

the house

* the he (he here not in the Stephen King sense, or to flip it around in the The The sense)

Articles and possessives are mutually exclusive:

the house

his house

* the his house

Some nouns are not compatible with certain articles:

he bought the furniture

* he bought a furniture

Determiners precede nouns and pre-nominal adjectives:

the green tree

* green the tree

etc.

Thus the assumption that Ds are heads of DPs that take NP complements:

[DP D [NP N ] ]

This might be the only part of speech that is motivated by mostly syntactic properties, rather than for example lexical or morphological (e.g. word-formation paradigm) ones.