Literal and Enriched Meaning of Sentences with Weak Definites and Bare Singulars

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Abstract

This paper studies literal and enriched meanings of sentences with weak definites and bare singulars in complementary distribution. It discusses, among other things, whether or not they display reinforceability, defeasibility, at-issueness and projectivity, which are properties usually used in the literature to characterize different types of inferences. The main conclusions are that literal meanings are regular entailments and that the best way to analyze enriched meanings is as a combination of entailed and conversationally implicated content. This treatment can explain their mixed behavior and, furthermore, is compatible with Aguilar-Guevara and Zwarts’s (2011, 2013) analysis of weak definites and its possible extension to bare singulars.

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The Semantics and Pragmatics of Side Issues

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