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Scope and partitivity of plural indefinite noun phrases in Spanish

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It has been argued that European Spanish plural indefinite noun phrases including algunos convey a partitive effect because the restrictor alg- provides additional properties. The reason that algunos implicates a “non-all-things” effect is because it refers only to an indeterminate part of the whole. The scope of bare plurals and unos, in contrast, does not exhibit this characteristic. This article argues that, contrarily to this claim, the scope of bare plurals and unos also induces partitivity because occurrences of these words include unarticulated constituents. Therefore, European Spanish indefinite noun phrases pragmatically presuppose the relevant part of what the speaker intends to refer, which is also shared by the audience since it is part of the common ground both occupy. Hence, bare plurals and unos are always contextually restricted, since a covert (optional) variable present in the logical form cannot capture this contextual restriction.
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Keywords: European Spanish; algunos; implicature; indefinites; partitivity; presupposition; scope; unarticulated constituents

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 10, 2017

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