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Plural sentences and semantic ambiguity


Sentenças plurais

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VALLÉE, R. . Plural sentences and semantic ambiguity. Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofia, Campinas, SP, v. 22, n. 2, p. 413–444, 1999. Disponível em: Acesso em: 11 dez. 2023.


Plural sentences are commonly assumed to be semantically ambiguous, and to have a collective, a distributive or an intermediate reading. I criticize this view and argue that the distributive/collective/intermediate distinction is better seen not as a case of semantic ambiguity, characteristic of sentences or words as types. I suggest a minimalista view taking the colective/distributive/intermediate distinction to be truth-conditionally irrelevant, and merely qualifying utterances of true simpliciter plural sentences. The intuitions underlying the idea that plural sentences have diferente readings find an acho in our understanding of singular sentences like “Peter played a duet”. I explore this topic. My view of the readings of plural sentences can account for these intuitions. If I am right, number, connected to lexical items and sequences of lexical items in natural languages reveals how underinformative setences are, and underlines the role of interpretation in linguistic communication.



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Copyright (c) 1999 Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofia


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