Chapter published in:Boundaries, Phases and Interfaces: Case studies in honor of Violeta Demonte
Edited by Olga Fernández-Soriano, Elena Castroviejo Miró and Isabel Pérez-Jiménez
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 239] 2017
► pp. 130–150
On weak definites and their contribution to event kinds
In this paper we focus on the meaning of definite DPs that allow a weak reading. We review three different proposals for weak definites, and we present a new analysis with special reference to Romance languages. We submit that the eventual weak reading of a definite DP and its contribution to a ‘familiar’ kind of activity is exclusively dependent on whether certain stereotypical information encoded on the N present in the DP is activated at the time of utterance interpretation. These DPs do not refer to kinds and do not correspond to incorporated objects. Hence, their interpretation is not compositionally driven, but rather pragmatically inferred. We predict that the identification of weak definites takes place beyond grammar and is constrained by encyclopedic information.
Keywords: weak definites, event kinds, property of kinds, telic stereotypical information, Romance
Published online: 14 June 2017
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