Forests and Trees: the Formal Semantics of Collective Categorization (ROCKY)


25 May 2018
Drift 21 room 0.03

Alon Fishman: Sentence-internal “different” as a lexical reciprocal

Sentence-internal “different” as a lexical reciprocal
Alon Fishman, Tel-Aviv University

This talk is concerned with a particular sentence-internal reading of  predicates like “different”, here called the *plural-dependent* reading. I argue for an analysis of this reading in terms of lexical reciprocity (Siloni 2012, Winter 2018). The plural-dependent reading has received substantial attention in the literature, but mostly in relation to “different” and “same” (e.g. Moltmann 1992, Barker 2007). I argue that the reading is more generally available, though crucially limited to lexically reciprocal predicates, i.e. predicates which show a reciprocal diathesis alternation (Levin 1993). Evidence for this claim comes from comparing predicates across languages. For example, English “near” is not lexically reciprocal, whereas Hebrew “karov” (‘near’) is.
Accordingly, “near” cannot receive a plural-dependent reading, whereas “karov” can. I next show that plural-dependent readings pattern with lexically reciprocal predicates, in contrast to periphrastic reciprocal constructions, i.e. constructions with reciprocal pronouns (Siloni 2012). Most notably, lexical mass nouns such as “furniture” are available as complements in plural-dependent readings, just as they are available as arguments for lexically reciprocal predicates. In contrast, lexical mass nouns cannot antecede reciprocal pronouns.

Handout: Sentence-internal “different” as a lexical reciprocal