Weak Reference and Property Denotation. Two Types of Pseudo-Incorporated Bare Nominals

in The Syntax and Semantics of Pseudo-Incorporation
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Abstract

In this paper we will examine Bare Plurals (henceforth BPs) and Bare Singulars (BSs) in Romance languages such as Romanian, Spanish and Catalan. The problem with (most) previous analyses was the lack of correlation between denotational type and semantic composition: BPs and BSs were assumed to be property-denoting but nevertheless subject to two different types of semantic composition, semantic incorporation (van Geenhoven 1996) and semantic pseudo-incorporation (Dayal 2003, Dobrovie-Sorin et al. 2005, 2006), respectively. Although they are defined as technically different, the two rules cannot help being basically identical, given the identity in denotational type of the nominal. And yet, we need to distinguish between the two types of bare nominals, given their clearly distinct distributions. Granting that BSs are indeed property-denoting, the main goal of the paper will be to analyze BPs—and more generally weak indefinites—as denoting existential generalized quantifiers. This analysis follows the line of Dobrovie-Sorin & Beyssade (2012), but substantially improves on it.