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The Meaning of More$
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Alexis Wellwood

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198804659

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198804659.001.0001

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Measuring pluralities

Measuring pluralities

(p.88) 5 Measuring pluralities
The Meaning of More

Alexis Wellwood

Oxford University Press

The previous chapters have focused on the compositional semantics of comparatives targeting phrases relatively uninfluenced by the interpretive effects of functional morphology. This chapter focuses on comparatives that obligatorily interpreted as comparisons between numbers of things, and ties such an interpretation to the presence of plural-marking (explicitly in “chairs”, implicitly in “jump (up and down)”). Assuming that plural-marking broadly signals non-trivial ordering relations between pluralities, the chapter proposes that the restriction to number-based comparison in such cases is due to a stronger constraint on the selection of measure functions (i.e., invariance under automorphism) than has previously been supposed. This analysis involves rejecting the assumption that “many” in English pronounces a distinct lexical primitive from MUCH, and adduces independent evidence in support of this rejection.

Keywords:   number, mass/count, plural comparative, pluractionality, automorphism, aspect, telicity, division, material constitution, temporal constitution

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