No need for a dedicated theory of the distribution of readings of English bare plurals

Giorgio Magri

Abstract


This paper explores the idea that English bare plurals (BPs) uniformly have a plain existential semantics. And that their generic/universal reading arises through a mechanism of exhaustification modeled on Spector (2007), whereby the BP 'firemen' triggers the implicature ''not-only-some'' that the implicature ''only-some'' triggered by the corresponding indefinite 'some firemen' is false. The distribution of existential and generic readings of English BPs is thus completely determined by the availability of the 'only-some' implicature of the corresponding indefinite, without any need for a dedicated theory of the distribution of readings of BPs.

Keywords


bare plurals; scalar implicatures; plural morphology

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/salt.v22i0.2644

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