Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (3):431-509 (2022)

The paper focuses on the semantics of distributivity, grammatical number, and cardinality predicates. I argue that constructions involving so-called ‘dependent plurals’, i.e. plurals lacking cardinality predicates occurring in the scope of certain quantificational items such as all and most, pose a challenge to familiar semantic frameworks that distinguish between two sources of multiplicity: mereological plurality and distributive quantification. I argue that dependent plural readings should be analysed as distinct both from cumulative readings and distributive readings, in the classical sense. I demonstrate how this can be accomplished in a semantic framework where expressions are evaluated relative to sets of assignments, or plural info states Proceedings of the 7th Amsterdam Colloquium, ILLC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 1990, in Dekker and Stokhof Proceedings of the 9th Amsterdam Colloquium, ILLC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 1994, Some aspects of the Internal Structure of Discourse. The Dynamics of Nominal Anaphora. PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam, 1996). The specific formal implementation is based on a modified version of Brasoveanu’s :129–209., 2008) Plural Compositional DRT. In this framework we are able to distinguish between two types of distributivity: weak distributivity across the assignments in a single plural info state and strong distributivity across multiple info states. I argue that both of these types of distributivity play a role in the semantics of natural language, accounting for the contrasting properties of ‘singular quantifiers’, such as each and every, and ‘plural quantifiers’, such as all and most. The contrasting properties of bare plurals and plurals involving cardinality modifiers are analysed in terms of the distinction between state-level and assignment-level plurality.
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DOI 10.1007/s10988-021-09330-1
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Generalized Quantifiers and Natural Language.John Barwise & Robin Cooper - 1981 - Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (2):159--219.

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