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Expressing the SelfCultural Diversity and Cognitive Universals$
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Minyao Huang and Kasia M. Jaszczolt

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786658

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786658.001.0001

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Referential variability of generic ‘one’

Referential variability of generic ‘one’

(p.158) 9 Referential variability of generic ‘one’
Expressing the Self

Minyao Huang

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents novel data regarding the semantic interpretation of generic ‘one’. First, it is argued that ‘one’ does not always refer to oneself while generalizing from the self’s experience. Moreover, based on the results of a reading comprehension survey, it is shown that ‘one’ can refer to (i) the speaker without generalization, (ii) anyone like the speaker, (iii) anyone in a certain class that does not necessarily include the speaker, or (iv) a non-speaker without generalization. The four types of reference are further analysed as two dimensions of contextual variation that interact with a merely generic meaning of ‘one’. They are variations in the domain of quantification and the at-issue content of a generic statement.

Keywords:   generic ‘one’, generalization, speaker reference, contextual variation, domain of quantification, at-issue content

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