Bare arguments
Semantic Structures ‘10
Carlson (1977)
Semantic Structures ‘10
Overview
•BP is not the plural counterpart
of a
•is not an indefinite
•the generic and the existential
reading of BPs are two sides of
the same coin
•how to connect the sides of the
coin?
3
Overview
•BP is not the plural counterpart
of a
•is not an indefinite
•the generic and the existential
reading of BPs are two sides of
the same coin
•how to connect the sides of the
coin?
4
The BP: a weird thing
OPACITY PHENOMENA

ok
Minnie wishes to talk to a young psychiatrist.
Minnie’s wish is to talk to a psychiatrist.
ok
There is a young psychiatrist such that it is
Minnie’s wish to talk to him.
5
The BP: a weird thing
OPACITY PHENOMENA

ok
Minnie wishes to talk to psychiatrists.
Minnie’s wish is to talk to a psychiatrists.
#
There are psychiatrists such that it is Minnie’s
wish to talk to them.
6
The BP: a weird thing
OPACITY PHENOMENA

ok
Minnie wishes to talk to a few psychiatrists.
Minnie’s wish is to talk to a few psychiatrists.
ok
There are a few psychiatrists such that it is
Minnie’s wish to talk to them.
7
The BP: a weird thing
OPACITY PHENOMENA
opacity phenomena = scope with respect to
intensional verbs (such as believe verbs)
whereas bare plurals can only take scope
below the intensional verb, regular indefinites
can take scope below and above it
8
The BP: a weird thing
NARROW SCOPE

ok
Everyone read a book on caterpillars.
For everyone there is a book on caterpillars
that is such that he/she read it.
ok
There is a book on caterpillars such that
everyone read it.
9
The BP: a weird thing
NARROW SCOPE

ok
Everyone read books on caterpillars.
For everyone there are books on caterpillars
that are such that he/she read them.
#
There are books on caterpillars such that
everyone read them.
10
The BP: a weird thing
NARROW SCOPE

ok
Everyone read two books on caterpillars.
For everyone there are two books on
caterpillars that is such that he/she read
them.
ok
There are two books on caterpillars such that
everyone read them.
11
The BP: a weird thing
NARROW SCOPE
whereas bare plurals can only take scope
below other operators, regular indefinites can
take scope below and above them
12
The BP: a weird thing
DIFFERENTIATED SCOPE
A dog was everywhere.
The indefinite cannot scope below everywhere.
Only reading: There is a dog such that it was in
all places (at the same time).
Not: In all places there was a dog (at the same
time)
13
The BP: a weird thing
DIFFERENTIATED SCOPE
Dogs were everywhere.
The BP can scope below everywhere.
Only reading: In all places there were dogs.
Not: There are dogs such that they were in all
places (at the same time)
14
The BP: a weird thing
DIFFERENTIATED SCOPE
A flag was hanging in front of every building.
ok
There was a flag such that is was hanging in
front of every building.
ok
In front of every building there was a flag
hanging.
15
The BP: a weird thing
DIFFERENTIATED SCOPE
According to Carlson BPs can sometimes take
scope below operators indefinites cannot
take scope under.
This might however be due to his choice of
examples.
What does seem to hold is that bare plurals
can only take narrow scope.
16
The BP: a weird thing
ANAPHORA
Harriet caught a rabbit yesterday, and Ozzie
caught it today.
#
a rabbit and it have a different referent
ok
a rabbit and it have the same referent
17
The BP: a weird thing
ANAPHORA
Harriet caught rabbits yesterday, and Ozzie
caught them today.
ok
rabbits and them have a different referent
ok
rabbits and them have the same referent
18
The BP: a weird thing
ANAPHORA
Max killed very few rabbits, but Hiram killed
them in great abundance.
Ozzie bought a potato because they contain
vitamin C.
19
The BP: a weird thing
DIFFERENTIATED SCOPE
According to Carlson BPs sometimes allow for
anaphora indefinites don’t allow for.
This might however be due to his choice of
pronoun.
(plurals can pick up both kinds and normal
individuals whereas singulars cannot)
20
Overview
hold
don’t clearly hold
•BP is not the plural counterpart
of a
•is not an indefinite
•the generic and the existential
reading of BPs are two sides of
the same coin
•how to connect the sides of the
coin?
21
Overview
•BP is not the plural counterpart
of a
•is not an indefinite
•the generic and the existential
reading of BPs are two sides of
the same coin
•how to connect the sides of the
coin?
22
Bare plurals and kinds
“A unified analysis is not only desirable, but
necessary, if we are to have a complete
account of this construction.”
23
Bare plurals and kinds
Two sides of the same coin...
Argument #1: they are in complementary
distribution
Children are playing in the garden.
Children are intelligent.
Why is this not a very strong argument?
24
Bare plurals and kinds
Two sides of the same coin...
Argument #2: unambiguously kind-referring
DPs behave in the same way:
This kind of human being is playing in the garden.
This kind of human being is intelligent.
Why is this still not very strong?
25
Bare plurals and kinds
Strongest point:
Unambiguously kind-referring DPs behave
scopally in the same way!
->If we assume that BPs are kind-referring we
get the funny scope behaviour for free!
26
Bare plurals and kinds
Max believes this kind of animal to have eaten
his pet sponge.
No specific instantiation of this kind of animal
can be intended.
27
Bare plurals and kinds
Everyone saw this kind of animal.
A reading according to which there is a
particular instantiation of this kind of animal
that everyone saw is not available.
28
Overview
•BP is not the plural counterpart
of a
•is not an indefinite
•the generic and the existential
reading of BPs are two sides of
the same coin
•how to connect the sides of the
coin?
29
Overview
•BP is not the plural counterpart
of a
•is not an indefinite
•the generic and the existential
reading of BPs are two sides of
the same coin
•how to connect the sides of the
coin?
30
Kinds and their instantiations
Carlson doesn’t give an explicit semantics for
the generic readings.
For the existential readings he proposes that
there are predicates that select kinds and
existentially quantify over their instantiations.
yx[R(x,y)&P(x)]
31
Kinds and their instantiations
yx[R(x,y)&P(x)]
To be here
yx[R(x,y)&Here(x)]
Not to be here
yx[R(x,y)&Here(x)]
Cats_kind
yx[R(x,y)&Here(x)](Cats_kind)
x[R(x,Cats_kind)&Here(x)]
32
33
Dayal (2009)
Semantic Structures ‘10
Longobardi
ITALIAN PROPER NAMES
Il mio Gianni ha finalmente telefonato.
the my John has finally called
My Johnny finally called.
*Mio Gianni ha finalmente telefonato.
my John has finally called
My Johnny has finally called.
35
Longobardi
ITALIAN PROPER NAMES
Il mio Gianni ha finalmente telefonato.
def + poss + name Proposal:
the my John has finally called
My Johnny finally called.
il occupies a position that...
... has to be filled
... cannot be filled by mio
*Mio Gianni ha finalmente telefonato.
poss + name
... but can be filled by
my John has finally
called
My Johnny has finally called.
36
moving Gianni to it
Longobardi
ITALIAN PROPER NAMES
Il mio Gianni ha finalmente telefonato.
the my John has finally called Proposal:
My Johnny finally called.
il occupies a position that...
... has to be filled
*Mio Gianni ha finalmente telefonato.
... cannot be filled by mio
my John has finally called
... but can be filled by
My Johnny has finally called.
moving Gianni to it
Gianni mio ha finalmente telefonato.
37
Longobardi
ENGLISH PROPER NAMES
*The my Johnny ha finalmente telefonato.
Proposal:
has finally called
My Johnny finally called.
the occupies a position that...
... hasn’t got to be filled
My Johnny ha finalmente telefonato.
... and therefore shouldn’t be
has finally called
filled
My Johnny has finally called.
... consequently the moving of
*Johnny my ha finalmente telefonato.
Johnny to it is not allowed
38
Longobardi
ITALIAN VS. ENGLISH PNs
ITALIAN
ENGLISH
Proposal:
Proposal:
il occupies a position that...
the occupies a position that...
... has to be filled
... hasn’t got to be filled
... cannot be filled by mio
... and therefore shouldn’t be
... but can be filled by
moving Gianni to it
filled
... consequently the moving of
Johnny to it is not allowed
39
parameter distinguishing between Italian and English type languages
Longobardi
ENGLISH COMMON NOUNS
*The big dogs bark.
the big dogs bark
Proposal:
the occupies a position that...
Big dogs bark.
... hasn’t got to be filled
Big dogs bark.
big dogs bark
... and therefore shouldn’t be
filled
Big dogs bark.
*Dogs big bark.
dogs big bark
Big dogs bark.
40
... consequently the moving of
dogs to it is not allowed
Longobardi
ITALIAN COMMON NOUNS
I grandi cani abbaiano
the big dogs bark
Big dogs bark.
*Grandi cani abbaiano
big dogs bark
Big dogs bark.
*Cani grandi abbaiano
dogs big bark
Big dogs bark.
41
Proposal:
i occupies a position that...
... has to be filled
... cannot be filled by grandi
... cannot be filled by cani
Longobardi
ITALIAN COMMON NOUNS
Proposal:
Proposal:
il occupies a position that...
i occupies a position that...
... has to be filled
... has to be filled
... cannot be filled by mio
... cannot be filled by grandi
... but can be filled by
... cannot be filled by cani
moving Gianni to it
Only proper names can raise to D.
42
Longobardi
In order to refer (in argument position) NPs have to be UNIVERSAL
associated with a D.
The association with D can be made in syntax or at LF.
PARAMETER
This association can be made by adding an (overt or covert)
D or by moving the noun to D. The latter option is only
available for nouns that intrinsically refer to an individual (i.e.
proper names).
43
In Italian the association is made in syntax.
SETTING
In English the association is made at LF.
SETTING
Longobardi
ITALIAN COMMON NOUNS
Ho mangiato biscotti.
!
I_have eaten biscuits
I ate biscuits.
Proposal:
In ‘properly governed positions’ a null determiner
can be inserted into D.
44
= everywhere except in preverbal subject position
Type-shifting ?
Types ?
Types...
two basic types:
- individuals
- truth values
(type e)
(type t)
Hu Jintao is president.
e + <e,t> = t
Hu Jintao
president(s)
type e
type <e,t>
TRUE!
45
Type-shifting ?
Types ?
Types...
two basic types:
- individuals
- truth values
(type e)
(type t)
Hu Jintao [smile].
e + <e,t> = t
Hu Jintao
smile
type e
type <e,t>
TRUE!
46
Type-shifting ?
Types ?
Types...
two basic types:
- individuals
- truth values
(type e)
(type t)
Presidents [smile].
<e,t> + <e,t> = ?
president(s)
smile
type <e,t>
type <e,t>
OOPS...
47
Type-shifting ?
Types ?
Type-shifting...
xPresident(x)  Qx[President(x)&Q(x)]
type <<e,t>,t>
xPresident(x)  x[President(x)]
type e
president(s)
type <e,t>
xPresident(x)  KINDx[President(x)]
type e
48
Type-shifting ?
Types ?
Type-shifting...
Qx[President(x)&Q(x)]
type <<e,t>,t>
x[President(x)]
Presidents [smile].
type e
<<e,t>,t> + <e,t> = t
KINDx[President(x)]
e + <e,t> = t
type e
smile
type <e,t>
49
Type-shifting ?
Types ?
Type-shifting...
Can we do whatever we want?
NO!
Two constraints:
THOU SHALT NOT shift unless needed.
THOU SHALT NOT shift covertly if Thou
hast a determiner that makes the same
shift overtly.
50
Type-shifting ?
Types ?
Type-shifting...
Qx[President(x)&Q(x)]
type <<e,t>,t>
x[President(x)]
Presidents [smile].
type e
<<e,t>,t> + <e,t> = t
KINDx[President(x)]
e + <e,t> = t
type e
smile
type <e,t>
51
Type-shifting ?
Types ?
Type-shifting...
Hu Jintao
the president
type e
type e
xPresident(x)
 y[y=xPresident(x)]
type <e,t>
Hu Jintao (is) the president
type e
+
type e
=?
Hu Jintao (is) the president
type e
+
type <e,t> = t
52
Type-shifting ?
Types ?
Type-shifting...
e
<<e,t>,t>
<e,t>
53
Chierchia
Chierchia & Longobardi
Longobardi:
Italian common nouns need a D to be able to appear in argument
position.
English common nouns don’t need a D to be able to appear in argument
position.
Chierchia:
Italian common nouns are of type <e,t> and cannot be type-shifted (at
least not without a covert D). [-arg; +pred]
54
English common nouns are of type <e,t> and can be type-shifted to type e
or type <<e,t>,t>. [+arg; +pred]
Chierchia
Chierchia Quiz
Chierchia:
Italian common nouns are of type <e,t> and cannot be type-shifted (at
least not without a covert D). [-arg; +pred]
English common nouns are of type <e,t> and can be type-shifted to type e
or type <<e,t>,t>. [+arg; +pred]
Why aren’t there bare singular arguments in Italian?
Why aren’t there bare singular arguments in English?
55
Chierchia
English bare plural
How does he derive the narrow-scope behaviour of the
English bare plural?
e
<<e,t>,t>
<e,t>
56
Chierchia
Italian bare plural
How does he derive the narrow-scope behaviour of the Italian
bare plural?
e
<<e,t>,t>
<e,t>
57
Chierchia
Typology
Does he have anything to say about other languages?
[-arg; +pred]
[+arg; +pred]
[-arg; -pred]
[+arg; -pred]
58
Italian
English
No language
Chinese
Chierchia
Chinese
Extra assumption about Chinese:
all nouns start life as kind-referring expressions
-> predicts narrow-scope behaviour
Extra trivia about Chinese:
- language that doesn’t have number marking on nouns
- language that doesn’t have articles
59
Chierchia
Chierchia Quiz
What are the possible English translations of xueshing (‘student’)?
a student
the student
students (existential)
students (kind)
the students
Can xueshing appear in a sentence like Hu shi xueshing (‘Hu is
student’)?
60
Chierchia
What Chierchia adds to type-shifting:
- typology (extra constraint on type-shifting)
- all argumental uses of bare nominals across
all languages pass through kinds (and
therefore only take narrow scope)
=> NEO-CARLSONIAN ANALYSIS
61
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Bare arguments and offline experiments