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Polish Bare NPs: a Flexible Interpretation Approach Ewa Rudnicka English Department University of Wrocław.

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Presentation on theme: "Polish Bare NPs: a Flexible Interpretation Approach Ewa Rudnicka English Department University of Wrocław."— Presentation transcript:

1 Polish Bare NPs: a Flexible Interpretation Approach Ewa Rudnicka English Department University of Wrocław

2 Goals explain the mechanism of licensing bare NPs in argument positions account for the multitude of their uses account for differences between bare singulars (BSs) and bare plurals (BPs)

3 Background (1) Traditional – English BPs as equivalents of a/n singulars based on distributional parallels, both ambiguous between indefinite and generic readings, covert determiner(s) postulated Kind – English bare plurals as always denoting names of kinds, other readings due to verbal predicates (Carlson 1977) scope contrasts: negation, quantifiers, attitude verbs; BPs always narrow scope, a/n singulars ambiguous does not account for their distributional parallels e.g. anaphoric binding.

4 Background (2) Indefinite – English bare plurals as indefinites (Diesing 1992, Krifka et al. 1995) differences between definite singulars and BPs in episodic contexts account for the ambiguity of generic sentences Neo-kind – bare NPs as kinds, indefinite interpretations derived by  type-shift, definite interpretations by  (Chierchia 1998, Dayal 2003) differences in scope behaviours between BPs and BSs, but these can be captured within the ambiguity approach as well

5 Interpretations Definite (D) – unique, speaker & hearer familiar /discourse salient x that was mentioned before Wide scope specific indefinite (W) unique and speaker familiar certain x that a speaker has in mind Narrow scope non-specific indefinite(N) non-unique and non-familiar some x

6 Presentational context V komnate byli malcik i devocka. In (the) room were (a) boy and (a) girl Chierchia (1998): presumably due to  type shift, so Slavic bare NPs on their indefinite readings are expected to pattern with English a/n singulars Dayal (2003): Slavic bare NPs do not pattern with a/n Kot ne sidit na stule. only ¬  cat not sits on stool “There isn’t any cat sitting on the stool.” Mne kazhetsja chto v komnate mysh' only seem >  me seems that in room mouse “It seems to me that there is some mouse in the room.” proposes to apply  carrying uniqueness, but not familiarity: the entity is not salient /is not firmly established in the common ground, but it must be unique

7 More than narrow scope Książka/i nie leży/ą na półce. W/D book/i not lie/s on shelf Janek nie czytał książki. W/D, N John not read book Wydaje mi się, że kot kręci się po strychu. N/W/D seems me REFL that cat hang around REFL at attic Wydaje mi się, że psy szczekają za bramą. N/W/D seems me REFL that dogs bark behind gate Magda chce pogadać z młodymi psychologami. N/W Maggie wants talk with young psychologists Każdy przeczytał książkę/ książki o czarownicach. N/W everyone read book/s about witches Kasia szuka jednorożca/ów i Marysia szuka go/ich też. W/N(A) Kate seeks unicorn and Mary seeks him/it too

8 BSs vs. BPs *Sobaka byla vesde. dog was everywhere ‘The dog/A particular dog was everywhere.’ Sobaki byli vesde. dogs were everywhere ‘There were dogs (different groups) everywhere.’ *V etoj kletke, tigr jest i tigr spit. In this cage, tiger is eating and tiger is sleeping. V etoj kletke, tigri jedjat i tigri spjat. In this cage, tigers are eating and tigers are sleeping. Pies był wszędzie. colloquial W dog was everywhere Psy były wszędzie N dogs were everywhere

9 Single per situation V etoj kletke, tigr spit i v toj kletje tigr jest. In this cage tiger is sleeping and in that cage tiger is eating. kal billii duudh pii gayii aur aaj billii khaanaa meN muNh lagaa dii yesterday cat milk drank up and today cat food in mouth put ‘Yesterday the cat drank up the milk and today it got into the food.’ *do ghante tak kamre meN billi ghustii rahii two hours till room in cat kept entering ‘For two hours the (same) cat kept entering the room.’ ??A cat has been here since Columbus landed. Kot był tu od czasów Kolumba. N cat was here since times Columbus Koty były tu od czasów Kolumba. N cat were here since times Columbus

10 Flexible interpretation (Krifka 2004) Count nouns have a number argument n. dog: [ dog ] = λwλnλx[DOG(w)(n)(x)], = DOG, type  s,  n,  e,t  A function from numbers to predicates. The number argument n can be filled by overt numerals which trigger number agreement: [ two dogs ] = λw[[ dog ](w)([ two ](w))] = λw[λnλx[DOG(w)(n)(x)](2)] = λwλx[DOG(w)(2)(x)] or by plural morphology (such use is called semantic plural): [ dog-s ] = λw[[ -s ](w)([ dog ](w))] = λw[λRλx  n[R(n)(x)](DOG(w))], = λwλx  n[DOG(w)(n)(x)] proposed for English, but it is supposed to work for all languages which have morphological marking of plurality, among them Polish:

11 Semantic singular kot koty cat-SING cat-PLUR As soon as the number argument is filled, an expression changes its type from ‘a function from numbers to predicates’ to a predicate. Krifka’s suggestion for languages that allow bare singular arguments semantic singular – the number argument is always filled with 1, there is a singular operator SG which gets singular nouns from noun stems: [ pes ] = [ ps-SG ] = λw[[ SG ](w)([ ps ](w))] = λw[λRλx[R(1)(x)](DOG(w))], = λwλx[DOG(w)(1)(x)] Importantly, Krifka does not condition the existence of SG operator on the existence of any overt singular morphology, despite the fact that the example given by him involves the singular/plural morphological alternation.

12 Slavic bare NPs vs. English NPs Not surprisingly, this representation of the Czech BS pes equals the representation of the English NP one dog: [ one dog ] = λw[[ dog ](w)([ one ](w))] = λw[λnλx[DOG(w)(n)(x)](1)] = λwλx[DOG(w)(1)(x)] Importantly, this accounts for the fact that English does not allow bare singulars in the argument positions, while Polish does allow them. Unlike English singular count nouns which are functions from numbers to predicates, Polish bare singular count nouns are predicates on a par with bare plurals. Polish BSs and BPs differ with respect to the cardinality of sets denoted by them. It must be 1 in the case of BSs, whereas it is left unspecified in the case of BPs.

13 Indefinite reading of BPs Krifka follows the principles of type-shifting of Chierchia (1998), so he derives the indefinite meaning of the bare plural with the help of  : [ [[ NP dogs] [are barking]] ] a. = λw[{[ dogs ](w), [ be barking ](w)}], functional application impossible b. Type shift: [ dogs ]   [ dogs ], = λwλPλx[[ dogs ](w)(x)  P(x)] c. = λw[  [ dogs ](w)([ be barking ](w))] d. = λw  x[  n[DOG(w)(n)(x)]  BE_BARKING(w)] The same representation can be assumed for the indefinite reading of Polish BPs: [ [[ NP psy] [szczekają]] ] a. = λw[{[ psy ](w), [ szczekać ](w)}], functional application impossible b. Type shift: [ psy ]   [ psy ], = λwλPλx[[ psy ](w)(x)  P(x)] c. = λw[  [ psy ](w)([ szczekać ](w))] d. = λw  x[  n[PS(w)(n)(x)]  SZCZEKAĆ (w)]

14 English indefinite singular vs. Polish BS on the indefinite reading [ a ] = λwλRλP  x[R(1)(x)  P(x)] [ a dog ] = λw[[ a ](w)([ dog ](w))] = λw[λRλP  x[R(1)(x)  P(x)](DOG(w))] = λwλP  x[DOG(w)(1)(x)  P(x)] [[[[ DP a dog] [is barking]]] = λw[[[a dog ](w)([[is barking ](w))] = λw[λP  x[DOG(w)(1)(x)  P(x)](BE_BARKING(w))] = λw  x[DOG(w)(1)(x)  BE_BARKING(w)] Gdzieś tam w oddali szczeka pies. somewhere there in distance bark-PRES dog [ [[ NP pies] [szczeka]] ] = λw[{[ pies ](w), ([ szczeka ](w))}] functional application impossible, Type shift: [ pies ]   [ pies ], = λwλPλx[[ pies ](w)(x)  P(x)] = λw[  [ pies ](w)([ szczekać ](w))] = λw[λP  x[DOG(w)(1)(x)  P(x)](SZCZEKAĆ (w))] = λw  x[DOG(w)(1)(x)  SZCZEKAĆ (w)]

15 Definite determiners The definite reading is blocked for English BPs due to the existence of the overt definite determiner the. To derive it for Polish BPs, we need to apply the ι type shift. [ the ] = λwλP[ιP] [ the dogs ] = λw[[ the ](w)([ dogs ](w))] = λw[λP[ιP]( λx  n[DOG(w)(n)(x)])] = λw[ιλx  n[DOG(w)(n)(x)]] [ the [three dogs]]] = λw[ι[DOG(w)(3)]] [ the ] = λwλR[ιR(1)] [ the dog ] = λw[[ the ](w)([ dog ](w))] = λw[λR[ιR(1)](DOG(w))] = λw[ιλx[DOG(w)(1)]]

16 Polish BP and BS on definite reading [ [[psy] [szczekają]] ] = λw[{[ szczekają ](w),([ psy ](w))}], functional application impossible Type shift: [ psy ]  ι [ psy ], = λw[λP[ιP]( λx  n[PS(w)(n)(x)])] = λw[SZCZEKAĆ (w)(ιλx  n[DOG(w)(n)(x)]] [ [[pies] [szczeka]] ] = λw[{[ szczeka ](w),([ pies ](w))}], functional application impossible Type shift: [ pies ]  ι [ pies ], = λw[λP[ιP](λx[PS(w)(1)(x)])] = λw[SZCZEKAĆ(w)(ιλx[DOG(w)(1)]]

17 Kind BP Krifka redefines the  in the following way:  P = λw[ιP(w)] It derives the kind reading: [ Dodos are extinct ] = λw[{[ be extinct ](w), [ dodos ]}] by type shift: = λw[[ be extinct ]](w)(  [ dodos ])] = λw[BE_EXTINCT(w)(λw’ [ιλx  n[DODO(w’)(n)(x)]])] The same representation holds for Polish bare plurals. Yet, since this operator is not restricted to cumulative predicates, it can also be applied to derive the kind reading of bare singulars:

18 Kind BS Najstarszy przodek słonia żył 50 milionów oldest ancestor elephant-GEN lived millions lat temu, a jego kuzyn mamut wyginął years ago and his cousin mammoth died out w czasach prehistorycznych. in times prehistoric [ mamut wyginął ] = λw[{[ wyginąć ](w), [ mamut ]}] by type shift: = λw[[ wyginąć ](w)(  [ mamut ])] = λw[WYGINĄĆ(w)(λw’[ιλx[MAMUT(w’)(1)(x)]])]

19 Generic The generic interpretation is due to GEN quantificational operator which is widely assumed to be associated with generic predicates. GEN bounds a variable contributed by a nominal predicate. Thus, bare NPs, which are properties of a predicative type, introduce variables which get bound by GEN. Dogs are friendly. GEN[[ dog-s ](x), FRIENDLY(x)] Psy szczekają, kiedy są głodne. dogs bark-PRES when are hungry [ [[ NP psy] [szczekają]] ]] GEN[[[psy ](x)([[szczekać ](x))] GEN[  n[PS(n)x)], SZCZEKAĆ (x)] Pies szczeka, kiedy widzi kota. dog bark-PRES when see-PRES cat [[[[ NP pies] [szczeka]] ] = GEN[[ pies ](x)([szczeka ](x))], = GEN[PS(1)(x), SZCZEKAĆ (x)]

20 Conclusion English bare plural NPs and Polish bare plural and bare singular NPs denote properties, so they do not have any ‘default’ interpretations. Different type shifts are responsible for their different interpretations and, at the same time, license their presence in argumental positions.

21 References Carlson, G “A Unified Analysis of the English Bare Plural.” Linguistics &Philosophy. Chierchia, G “Reference to Kinds Across Languages.” Natural Language Semantics 6. Dayal, V “Number Marking and (In) definiteness in Kind Terms.” Ms. Rutgers University. Diesing, M Indefinites. Cambridge, Mass. :MIT Press. Kadmon, N “Uniqueness.” Linguistics and Philosophy 13. Krifka, M. et al “Genericity: an Introduction.” In G. Carlson and J. Pelletier. eds. The Generic Book. Chicago. Krifka, M Bare NPs: Kind-referring, Indefinites, Both, or Neither?". Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) XIII, University of Washington, Seattle. Edited R. B. Young & Y. Zhou, CLC Publications, Cornell.Bare NPs: Kind-referring, Indefinites, Both, or Neither?" Landman, F Groups. I &II. Linguistics and Philosophy, 12. Link, G “The logical analysis of plurals and mass terms”. In R. Bauerle, C. Schwarze, and A.Von Stechow (eds.): Meaning, Use and Interpretation of Language. Walter de Gruyter. Lyons, Ch Definiteness. Cambridge University Press. Lyons, J Semantics.


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