Special announcement: talk by Jakub Dotlacil and Rick Nouwen (Utrecht)

Jakub Dotlacil and Rick Nouwen are organizing a talk in Utrecht entitled The comparative as a relation between degree pluralities. The talk will be on Thursday July 4, and everyone is welcome to attend!

Date: Thursday, July 4, 2013
Time: 15:00 – 17:00
Location: Utrecht, Trans 8, room 0.19


A central issue in the literature on comparatives concerns examples like (1), in which a distributive quantifier appears in the than-clause. An example like (1) receives an incorrect interpretation in classical semantic approaches to comparatives, namely, (1) is true if and only if John is taller than the shortest girl. This is amended in recent literature (Schwarzschild and Wilkinson, 2002, Heim, 2006, among others), but at a cost of introducing complex objects and mechanisms that have no application outside of the domain of degrees.

(1) John is taller than every girl is.

We propose that (1) and related examples can be correctly dealt with if in parallel to the domain of events and entities, degrees come in the form of pluralities as well as singularities. On top of that, the usual operations applicable to pluralities of events and entities (leading to distributive, collective and cumulative readings) apply to the comparative relation too. From this perspective, (1) becomes a case of a distributive reading. In the talk, we will discuss lesser known examples, showing the existence of collective and cumulative readings of comparison.


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