Plurals, presuppositions and the sources of distributivity

Natural Language Semantics 2 (3):201-248 (1993)
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Abstract

This paper begins with a discussion ofcumulativity (e.g., ‘P(a) & P(b) implies P(a+b)’), formalized using a verb phrase operator. Next, the meanings of distributivity markers such aseach and non-distributivity indicators such astogether are considered. An existing analysis ofeach in terms of quantification over parts of a plurality is adopted. However,together is problematic, for it involves a cancellation or negation of the quantification associated witheach. (The four boys together owned exactly three cars could not be true if each of the boys owned three cars, though the same sentence withouttogether could be.) A refinement of this idea of negated quantification over parts is proposed as an analysis for non-distributivity operators. It is then worked out in the system described in Cooper (1983), in which positive and negative extensions are assigned. Presuppositions connected with plural reference are considered at this point as well. Finally, the cumulativity operator is argued to be quantificational and therefore sensitive to contextual domain selection. This context sensitivity is claimed to be the source of distributive readings that appear in the absence of modifiers likeeach and non-distributive or collective readings that arise withouttogether

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References found in this work

Groups, I.Fred Landman - 1989 - Linguistics and Philosophy 12 (5):559 - 605.
The Readings of Plural Noun Phrases in English.Brendan S. Gillon - 1987 - Linguistics and Philosophy 10 (2):199 - 219.

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