David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (4):353-407 (2009)
Bare plurals (dogs) behave in ways that quantified plurals (some dogs) do not. For instance, while the sentence John owns dogs implies that John owns more than one dog, its negation John does not own dogs does not mean “John does not own more than one dog”, but rather “John does not own a dog”. A second puzzling behavior is known as the dependent plural reading; when in the scope of another plural, the ‘more than one’ meaning of the plural is not distributed over, but the existential force of the plural is. For example, My friends attend good schools requires that each of my friends attend one good school, not more, while at the same time being inappropriate if all my friends attend the same school. This paper shows that both these phenomena, and others, arise from the same cause. Namely, the plural noun itself does not assert ‘more than one’, but rather the plural denotes a predicate that is number neutral (unspecified for cardinality). The ‘more than one’ meaning arises as an scalar implicature, relying on the scalar relationship between the bare plural and its singular alternative, and calculated in a sub-sentential domain; namely, before existential closure of the event variable. Finally, implications of this analysis will be discussed for the analysis of the quantified noun phrases that interact with bare plurals, such as indefinite numeral DPs (three boys), and singular universals (every boy)
|Keywords||Bare plurals Dependent plurals Scalar implicature Events|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Samuel Louis Bayer (1997). Confessions of a Lapsed Neo-Davidsonian: Events and Arguments in Compositional Semantics. Garland Pub..
C. Brisson (2003). Plurals, All, and the Nonuniformity of Collective Predication. Linguistics and Philosophy 26 (2):129-184.
Gennaro Chierchia (1998). Reference to Kinds Across Language. Natural Language Semantics 6 (4):339-405.
Brendan S. Gillon (1987). The Readings of Plural Noun Phrases in English. Linguistics and Philosophy 10 (2):199 - 219.
Herbert Paul Grice (1967/1987). Logic and Conversation. In Paul Grice (ed.), Studies in the Way of Words. Harvard University Press. 41-58.
Citations of this work BETA
Sivan Sabato & Yoad Winter (2012). Relational Domains and the Interpretation of Reciprocals. Linguistics and Philosophy 35 (3):191-241.
Similar books and articles
Jo-Wang Lin (1999). Double Quantification and the Meaning of Shenme 'What' in Chinese Bare Conditionals. Linguistics and Philosophy 22 (6):573-593.
K. Hossack (2000). Plurals and Complexes. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (3):411-443.
Veneeta Dayal (2004). Number Marking and (in)Definiteness in Kind Terms. Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (4):393-450.
Berit Brogaard (2010). Descriptions: An Annotated Bibliography. Oxford Annotated Bibliographies Online.
Byeong-uk Yi (2006). The Logic and Meaning of Plurals. Part II. Journal of Philosophical Logic 35 (3):239-288.
A. Cohen (2005). More Than Bare Existence: An Implicature of Existential Bare Plurals. Journal of Semantics 22 (4):389-400.
Greg N. Carlson (1977). A Unified Analysis of the English Bare Plural. Linguistics and Philosophy 1 (3):413 - 456.
Added to index2009-11-21
Total downloads29 ( #71,914 of 1,692,585 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #75,604 of 1,692,585 )
How can I increase my downloads?