bookywormy asked:

Page 87. What does Pinker mean when he says that a noun is marked by a "requirement to have an oblique rather than a direct object (the king of Thebes, not the king of Thebes)"? A noun does not need to have an oblique object or any object. It could stand alone. Why then does Pinker say that a noun requires an oblique object?

Atlas Publishing In addition, writing "the king Thebes" is technically incorrect, because by excluding the preposition "of" from the construction, you are effectively writing that the king's name is "Thebes," not that he is the ruler of Thebes. "Of" tells the reader that the word that comes next will be a noun that functions with "of" as an adjective rather than as an appositive reference to the original subject, "king."
Roy Lotz Bookywormy,

Your book may have a misprint. In mine, it says "... the requirement to have an oblique rather than a direct object (the king of Thebes not the king Thebes)... " (In your quote, you have the word of twice, but in my book, it's only in the first example.)

All Pinker is pointing out is that different subjects require different types of objects. The word "king" requires an oblique object: "the king France" sounds funny, "the kind of France" is correct. (Pinker defines oblique objects as the objects of a preposition, and prepositions are words that express relationships, such as "of" or "before" or "under.")
Laura Miller I stumbled on this sentence also and figured that it was a mistype. To Roy's post, yes, "king France" makes little sense, but "King Thebes" is fine, as long as King is capitalized.
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by Steven Pinker (Goodreads Author)
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