Indefinites, Dependent Plurality, and the Viability Requirement on Scalar Alternatives

Journal of Semantics 30 (1):65-102 (2013)
Abstract
Spanish has two plural existential determiners, unos and algunos, which have been argued to contrast in a number of ways (Gutiérrez-Rexach 2001, 2010; Martí 2008, 2009). In this paper, we analyze an unexplored difference between these two determiners. A sentence like esos chicos tienen unas cabezas grandes (‘those kids have huge heads’) has a dependent plural reading: it can be true in a situation where those kids have exactly one huge head each. In contrast, its counterpart with algunos (esos chicos tienen algunas cabezas grandes) would be odd in that situation. Surprisingly, however, algunos seems to block dependent plural readings only when those are the only readings allowed by world knowledge: a sentence like esos chicos tienen algunas monedas viejas (‘those kids have some old coins’) can be true and felicitous in situations where the kids have exactly one coin each. We argue that the dependent plural readings of unos are cumulative readings, and we link the different behavior of unos and algunos with respect to dependent plurality to another well-known difference between them: that only algunos is a scalar item. Our investigation of the scalar component of algunos leads us to putting forth the hypothesis that scalar items require that at least one of the alternatives that they evoke be compatible with common knowledge
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,357
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2012-02-22

    Total downloads

    5 ( #178,779 of 1,088,810 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,666 of 1,088,810 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.