Archive | January 2014

January 22: two talks from Roberta Pires de Oliveira (CNPq/UFSC) and Susan Rothstein (Bar-Ilan University) – LUCL

We are happy to inform you of a special LUSH event scheduled for Wednesday January 22, 2014 in Leiden: a talk by Roberta Pires de Oliveira (CNPq/UFSC) entitled “Brazilian Bare Phrases: Plurality, and Kinds” and a talk by Susan Rothstein (Bar-Ilan University) entitled “Approximative Inversion in Russian as a measure constructions”. We hope to see you there!

Date: Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Time: 14:30-15:45 (Roberta Pires de Oliveira); 16:00-17:15 (Susan Rothstein)
Location: TBA


Roberta Pires de OliveiraBrazilian Bare Phrases: Plurality, and Kinds.
Against Sauerland (2008), Farkas & de Swart (2010) we argue that plural morphology is marked cross linguistically. Bare nouns in Brazilian Portuguese (BrP) give support to their generalization. However, their proposal cannot explain the bare singular in BrP, in particular because it equates the bare singular to the bare plural. In this paper, we show that this is not the case. The bare singular and the bare plural are semantically distinct, which also argues against the hypothesis of two varieties of BrP (de Swart (2013)). Our proposal relies on Rothstein (2010, among others). We claim that the number morpheme conveys counting (which, we argue, is not exactly the same as plurality, see Rothstein (2010)). The absence of number morphology triggers singular agreement because the phrase denotes a singular entity (The DP hypothesis), but the noun phrase may be derived from a count phrase, or it may denote the kind (mass are kind denoting). 

Susan RothsteinApproximative Inversion in Russian as a measure constructions. (Joint work with Keren Khrizman, Bar-Ilan University)
We present a semantic analysis of approximative inversion (AI) constructions in Russian  such as (i) where the approximate effect results from inverting the noun and numeral from its standard order  Num N order dvadcat’ knig “twenty books” to N Num.
i)            Ivan pročital knig dvadcat’
            Ivan read     books twenty
            “Ivan read approximately twenty books”
The syntax of these construction has been discussed in Franks 1995, Yadroff and Billings 1998, and others. We argue, contra Zaroukian 2012, that these constructions are not expressions of modal uncertainty, and analyse them as measure phrases involving an estimation operation. We show that the most straightforward use of AI constructions is in fact in measure phrases for example litrov pjat’ moloka ‘about five liters of milk’ (literally litres five of milk), where the measure head litrov precedes the numerial pjat’. We argue that even count AI phrases instantiate a measure operation in Russian, estimating the numerosity of the denotation of a predicate set as being close to a particular number. We support this with evidence from Franks 1995 and others, who show that the syntactic properties of AI constructions are characteristic of measure contexts, and we offer a semantic analysis which follows Rothstein 2012, Li and Rothstein 2012 who show based on English and Mandarin data apparent count expressions can be used as measure heads in approximation contexts.