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Spanish unos and the article hypothesis SuB 13 | Bert Le Bruyn.

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Presentation on theme: "Spanish unos and the article hypothesis SuB 13 | Bert Le Bruyn."— Presentation transcript:

1 Spanish unos and the article hypothesis SuB 13 | Bert Le Bruyn

2 CHALLENGE 1

3 Facts Spanish unos doesn’t allow for proportional readings. ?Unos estudiantes son abogados. unos students are lawyers Intended: ‘Some students are lawyers.’ ?UNOS estudiantes son abogados. UNOS students are lawyers Intended: ‘Some students are lawyers.’ I take unos...otros to be a fixed expression (see also Gutiérrez-Rexach 2001 and Martí 2007). 1 1

4 Previous analyses Why is it that unos behaves in this way ? What is it that makes unos special compared to other determiners ?

5 Previous analyses Why is it that unos behaves in this way ? What is it that makes unos special compared to other determiners ? Martí 2007 Syntactic / semantic decomposition of indefinites - number - existential quantification - positive polarity - partitivity implicature unos algunos Claim: Alg- adds the partitivity implicature. Unos lacks alg- and therefore does not give rise to partitive readings.

6 Previous analyses Why is it that unos behaves in this way ? What is it that makes unos special compared to other determiners ? Martí 2007 Question that remains: Why is unos the only determiner that needs alg- to get a partitive reading ? Dos estudiantes son abogados. ok Algodos estudiantes son abogados. * -> Back to where we were...

7 Previous analyses Why is it that unos behaves in this way ? What is it that makes unos special compared to other determiners ?

8 My analysis Why is it that unos behaves in this way ? What is it that makes unos special compared to other determiners ? Unos is the default plural indefinite determiner in Spanish. Unos is the indefinite plural article in Spanish. -> in as far as indefinite articles are grammaticalized markers of argumenthood they are expected not to give rise to derived interpretations (such as the partitive one) Parallel with the singular indefinite article: ? A student is a lawyer.

9 Argumentation -> in as far as indefinite articles are grammaticalized markers of argumenthood they are expected not to give rise to derived interpretations (such as the partitive one) Can we show that unos underwent a grammaticalization process comparable to that of an indefinite article ? -> what does the grammaticalization process of an indefinite article look like ? -> what predictions does this make for unos ? -> are these predictions borne out ?

10 Argumentation 1. The indefinite article loses part of its semantic content -> partitive reading possible One student came to see me. -> partitive reading impossible A student came to see me. Prediction: unos did allow for partitive readings in Early Spanish.

11 Argumentation Prediction: unos did allow for partitive readings in Early Spanish. Following Gutiérrez-Rexach (2001) I assume non-partitive Ds cannot appear in the upstairs D position of (standard) partitives. Present day Spanish: ??? He visto a unos de los familiares de Pedro. have seen a some of the relatives of Pedro Intended: ‘I saw some of Pedro’s relatives.’ Early Spanish: E ellas yendo se, fueron unos de los guardadores a la ciudat. And they going went unos of the guards to the city ‘And while they were going, some of the guards went to the city.’ < manuscrito escurialense I.I.6. (between 1254 and 1270)

12 Argumentation Two potential problems: - only 1 exampleIt might be an accident... - it’s a translationThe original text might have had some influence...

13 Argumentation - only 1 exampleIt might be an accident... -> Are there any texts that contain more than one instance of unos de los ? YES Alfonso X General Estoria +/ Anonymous Manuscrito Escurialense +/ Casiodoro de Reina Biblia Reina-Valera +/ translations!

14 Argumentation -> Can we safely assume that there is no real interference of the original text ? - it’s a translationThe original text might have had some influence... YES -> Compare examples to the source text Manuscrito EscurialenseVulgata Reina-ValeraTextus Receptus (Stephanus 1550)

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18 Argumentation Two potential problems: - only 1 exampleIt might be an accident... - it’s a translationThe original text might have had some influence... ()

19 Argumentation 2. The indefinite article, in the beginning of its grammaticalization process, is used to mark the introduction of salient discourse referents (cf. Stark 2002, Blazer 1979). Corpus study: El Cid (late 12 th early 13 th century) verse (approx words) # bare singulars: approx. 150 # objects: approx. 31 -> compare singulars with and without ind. art. # singulars with indefinite article: approx. 20 # objects: approx. 6

20 Argumentation objects in epitetha5 ‘fixed’ expressions dar salto ‘to attack’2 aver miedo ‘to be scared’1 aver menester ‘to need’1 aver gracia ‘to have grace’1 mass objects3 meter mano ‘to touch/grab’1 object of verb in subjuntivo3 object of verb in future4 object of verb in imperative3 object of infinitive following ‘want to’2 object in generalization1 others5 v. 41, 58, 78, 175, 439 v.30, 244 v.469 v.135 v.40 v.29, 345, 345 v.500 v.20, 192 v.249, 382, 386, 450 v.25, 273, 420 v.36, 194 v.126 v.125, 285, 333, 351, 428 Bare singulars

21 Argumentation How many are referred back to ? #13%

22 Argumentation Prediction: Unos, in the beginning of its grammaticalization process, is used to mark the introduction of salient discourse referents. How many are referred back to ? 466% Singulars with indefinite article

23 Argumentation Corpus study: El Cid -> compare plurals with and without unos verse (approx words) # bare plurals: approx. 54 # objects: approx. 6 ? Prediction: Unos, in the beginning of its grammaticalization process, is used to mark the introduction of salient discourse referents. # plurals with unos: 0

24 Argumentation 3. Important gain in frequency of the indefinite article

25 Argumentation un uno una Corpus del Español, Mark Davies

26 Argumentation Prediction: important gain in frequency for unos.

27 Argumentation unos Prediction: important gain in frequency for unos. unas Corpus del Español, Mark Davies

28 Intermediate summary Prediction: unos did allow for partitive readings in Early Spanish. Prediction: important gain in frequency for unos. un unos + + by 1569 unos had started losing part of its partitive potential (algunos had become far more frequent in partitives). + unos is parallel to the indefinite article in not allowing partitive readings Unos seems to function as a plural indefinite article.

29 Intermediate summary ? + Spanish allows for bare plurals... Unos doesn’t seem to be the perfect match of the singular indefinite article. Prediction: Unos, in the beginning of its grammaticalization process, is used to mark the introduction of salient discourse referents.

30 CHALLENGE 2

31 Facts + previous analysis Al principio, Juan quería restaurar muebles, At_the beginning Juan wanted restore pieces_of_furniture pero terminó vendiéndolos. but ended_up selling_them ‘In the beginning, Juan wanted to restore pieces of furniture, but he ended up selling them.’ Claim by Laca (1996, 1999): bare plurals do not introduce standard discourse referents, only their descriptive content can be picked up.

32 More facts En la fabricación hubo problemas técnicos in the production there_were problems technical uno de ellos era la construcción de la torre. one of them was the construction of the tower ‘In the production there were technical problems, one of them was the construction of the tower.’ How to account for the tendency of bare plurals to not be picked up without stating that they don’t introduce discourse referents ?

33 My analysis bare plurals introduce discourse referents that are low in salience -> bare plurals are not the standard choice to introduce discourse referents -> they are only used to introduce discourse referents that are not likely to be picked in later discourse If this analysis makes sense it would: -> account for Laca’s intuition -> account for the facts -> leave for unos the role of indefinite plural article (being the standard default det to introduce DRs) CH 2 CH 1

34 My analysis Basic intuition Bare plurals introduce discourse referents that are not likely to be picked up. similar intuition about Spanish bare plurals in Laca & Tasmowski (1994) similar intuition about Hindi bare singulars in Dayal (1992, 1999, 2004) -> interestingly both Laca and Dayal end up stating that no discourse referents are being introduced -> this does not account for the intuition

35 My analysis Basic intuition Bare plurals introduce discourse referents that are not likely to be picked up. Centering Theory (i) Jeff helped Dick wash the car. Walker, Joshi & Prince (1998) Forward-Looking Centerall discourse entities evoked in an utterance Jeff, Dick members are ranked according to discourse salience Jeff > Dick (ii) He washed the windows.He = Jeff Preferred Centermember of FLC ranked highest

36 My analysis Basic intuition Bare plurals introduce discourse referents that are not likely to be picked up. Centering Theory Walker, Joshi & Prince (1998) Forward-Looking Centermembers are ranked according to discourse salience How is discourse salience decided ? Subject > Object > Other (i) Jeff helped Dick wash the car. (ii) He washed the windows. Standard Addition acertain types of NPs/DPs can be independently marked for (a degree of) salience

37 My analysis Basic intuition Bare plurals introduce discourse referents that are not likely to be picked up. Centering Theory Addition acertain types of NPs/DPs can be independently marked for (a degree of) salience (iii) I been on this one case now about eight months [...] indefinite-thisin 86% of the cases the referent it introduces is referred to again within a few clauses Addition bthis N comes with high salience

38 My analysis Basic intuition Bare plurals introduce discourse referents that are not likely to be picked up. Centering Theory Addition acertain types of NPs/DPs can be independently marked for (a degree of) salience Addition call normal DPs come with normal salience Addition dbare nominals come with low salience Addition bthis N comes with high salience

39 My analysis discourse entity 1 discourse entity 2 discourse entity 3... Grammatical Function unos this bare nominals Information Structure discourse entity 3 discourse entity 1 discourse entity 2... Forward-Looking Center (unranked) Forward-Looking Center (ranked)...

40 My analysis v u Juan (v) plural (u) manzana (u) compró (v,u) v u John (v) apple (u) bought (v,u) v u Juan (v) plural (u) manzana (u) compró (v,u) Juan compró unas manzanas. John bought this apple. Juan compró manzanas. John bought applesJohn bought UNOS apples

41 My analysis v u Juan (v) plural (u) manzana (u) compró (v,u) v u John (v) apple (u) bought (v,u) v u Juan (v) plural (u) manzana (u) compró (v,u) Juan compró unas manzanas. John bought this apple. Juan compró manzanas. John bought applesJohn bought UNOS apples

42 My analysis v u Juan (v) plural (u) manzana (u) compró (v,u) v u John (v) apple (u) bought (v,u) v u Juan (v) plural (u) manzana (u) compró (v,u) Juan compró unas manzanas. John bought this apple. Juan compró manzanas. Does this make any solid predictions? John bought applesJohn bought UNOS apples

43 My analysis Does this make any solid predictions? Problem: There is variation in acceptability because judgements are affected by potentially different expectations people can have about the relevance of the entity referred to in the discourse. (Dayal 2004) -> Look for contexts that force or block discourse referents from being picked up. -> It’s in these contexts we should find clear contrasts between the bare plural and unos N.

44 My analysis Does this make any solid predictions? 1. Unos will be disallowed in non-salient positions the discourse referent corresponding to a DP occurring in a non-salient position cannot be picked up in subsequent discourse DEF

45 My analysis Does this make any solid predictions? object in scope of negation EX Checking prediction A la reunión no asistieron unos profesores. At the meeting NEG attended UNOS professors NEG < unos NEG > unos * 1. Unos will be disallowed in non-salient positions

46 the discourse referent corresponding to a DP occurring in a salient position is necessarily picked up in subsequent discourse DEF My analysis Does this make any solid predictions? 2. Bare plurals will be disallowed in ‘salient’ positions

47 My analysis Does this make any solid predictions? Contreras (1991), Olarrea (1996), Zagona (2002) Los estudiantes compramos un coche. The students bought-1pl. a car. [ IP pro[ IP Los estudiantes[ INFL compramos ][ VP t t un coche ] ] ] j jiik EX to be felicitous María has to be the antecedent of pro -> the Spanish preverbal subject position is a salient position to be felicitous the DR of María has to be picked up 2. Bare plurals will be disallowed in ‘salient’ positions

48 My analysis Does this make any solid predictions? Políticos han ocupado el palacio. * Checking prediction Politicians have occupied the palace. 2. Bare plurals will be disallowed in ‘salient’ positions

49 SUMMARY

50 Summary Challenge 1 Why does unos behave the way it does ? Challenge 2 How to account for the tendency of bare plurals to not be picked up without stating that they don’t introduce discourse referents ? It became an article What about the bare plural ? The bare plural is not the default way to introduce discourse referents. By appealing to the notion of discourse salience. diachronic synchronic

51 Loose ends - Data on unos and the bare plural especially in diachrony. - Unos is not only famous for its lack of partitive readings but also for its group readings.

52 A tentative analysis of the evolution of unos

53 EvolOT - assumptions: 1. bare nominals cannot give rise to partitive readings 2. the salience of bare nominals can be set to both “normal” and “low” 3. the salience of full DPs can never be set to “low” 4. algunos has a meaning component that cannot be expressed by unos nor by the bare plural

54 EvolOT bare plural unos algunos neutral, low salience neutral, normal salience proportional “algunos” /

55 EvolOT For each form/meaning pair: don’t link this form with this meaning - constraints

56 EvolOT # plural nouns- # plural determiners→ 64% # algunos / algunas determiner → 23% # unos / unas determiner → 13% initial frequencies Corpus del Español, Mark Davies /4

57 EvolOT # plural nouns- # plural determiners→ 64% # algunos / algunas determiner → 23% # unos / unas determiner → 13% initial frequencies

58 The End

59 References Literature Blazer, E.D., 1979, The historical development of articles in Old French, PhD dissertation, University of Texas │Contreras, H., 1991, “On the position of subjects”, in Perspectives on Phrase Structure, ed. Rothstein, S., New York: Academic Press │ Dayal, V., 1992, SALT II │ Dayal, V., 1992, SALT IX │ Dayal, V., 2004, L&P │ Delfitto D. & J. Schroten, 1991, Probus 3.│ Gutiérrez-Rexach, J., 2001, Probus 13. │ Hopper, P. & E. Traugott, 1993, Grammaticalization, CUP. │ Laca, B., 1996, ‘Acerca de la semántica de los plurales escuetos del español, Madrid: Espasa Calpe. │ Laca & Tasmowski 1994, Lingvisticae Investigationes 18. │ Martí, L., 2007, Natural Language Semantics [online first] │ Olarrea, A., 1996, Pre- and Postverbal Subject Positions in Spanish, PhD dissertation, University of Washington │ Stark, E., 2002, Journal of Semantics 19. │ Swart, H. de & J. Zwarts, 2007, Lingua. │ Prince, E., 1981, “On the inferencing of indefinite-this NPs”. │ Villalta, E., 1994, Plural indefinites in Spanish and distributivity [unpublished manuscript]. │ Walker, Joshi & Prince (1998), Centering Theory in Discourse, OUP. │ Zagona, K., 2002, The syntax of Spanish, CUP. Corpora


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