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On Number and Numberlessness in Languages with and without Articles

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concerns with the representation of number in article-less languages and focuses on two distantly related languages such as Russian and Armenian and an unrelated language, Tatar. It argues that morphological number and semantic number are mediated by syntactic number, encoded even in articleless languages via a dedicated functional projection, NumP. Depending on the language, the number-neutral nominals can be morphologically either singular or plural. It has long been noted that some morphologically plural nominals in English do not necessarily denote plural individuals. Number-neutral nominals are found also in languages with articles. The chapter focuses on number-neutral nominals whose occurrence is not determined by semantico-pragmatic factors. Moreover, non-paucal numerals in Russian include also the so-called collective numerals. The chapter concludes that the numberless nominals are not limited to downward entailing contexts in several unrelated (or distantly-related) languages: Russian, Armenian, Tatar.

Keywords: article-less languages; morphological number; number-neutral nominals; semantic number



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