Ambiguity and Anaphora with Plurals in Discourse

Nicholas Asher, Linton Wang


We provide examples of plurals related to ambiguity and anaphora that pose problems or are counterexamples for current approaches to plurals. We then propose a dynamic semantics based on an extension of dynamic predicate logic (DPL<sup>+</sup>) to handle these examples. On our theory, different readings of sentences or discourses containing plu­rals don't arise from a postulated ambiguity of plural terms or predicates applying to plural DPs, but follow rather from different types of dynamic transitions that manip­ulate inputs and outputs from formulas or discourse constituents. Many aspects of meaning can affect the type dynamic transitions : the lexical semantics of predicates to the left and right of a transition, and number features of DPs and discourse constraints like parallelism.

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