Reference to Kinds in Brazilian Portuguese: Definite Singulars vs. Bare Singulars

  • Carmen Dobrovie-Sorin
  • Roberta Pires de Oliveira

Abstract

The paper explains the contrast between the generic readings of bare singulars (BSs) and definite singulars (DSs) in Brazilian Portuguese (BrP), which have so far gone unnoticed. BSs in BrP behave like kind-denoting bare plurals (BPs) in English: they may refer to non-well-established kinds, whereas DSs cannot, unless in a comparison context; conversely, DSs can occur in the object position of predicates such as inventar ‘to invent’, whereas BSs cannot. Although both DSs and BSs denote kinds in BrP (Schmitt & Munn 1999 among others, contra Müller 2002), they do so through different semantic mechanisms. Kind-referring DSs (in BrP as well as in English) are built by applying the iota operator to a property of kinds (Dayal 2004). Kind-referring BSs (in BrP) rely on Chierchia’s (1998) down operator, which can apply both to pluralities and to number-neutral expressions, yielding intensional maximal sets.
Published
2019-07-25
How to Cite
Dobrovie-Sorin, C., & Pires de Oliveira, R. (2019). Reference to Kinds in Brazilian Portuguese: Definite Singulars vs. Bare Singulars. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 12, 107-121. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2008.v12i0.579