Buccola colloquium Friday November 19 at 3:30

Brian Buccola (Michigan State University) will present “Higher-order plurality without conjunction” in the Linguistics colloquium series at 3:30 Friday November 19, in ILC S331. An abstract follows. All are welcome!

A simple DP like “the animals” refers to a plurality, while a DP conjunction like “the cats and the dogs” refers, at least prima facie, to a structured, or higher-order, plurality — that is, a plurality of pluralities. A great deal of debate has focused on how to model this additional structure (Link 1984; Landman 1989; Krifka 1991; Schwarzschild 1996), with renewed interest in the typology of readings that DP conjunctions may give rise to (Grimau 2020). In this talk, I will present data indicating that higher-order pluralities can sometimes, but not always, arise even in the absence of conjunction, a result that challenges two longstanding theories of plurality. I will sketch how these two theories can be extended to capture the data, and the diverging predictions they make. Time permitting, I will also discuss how these findings bear on recent work on higher-order readings of questions (Xiang 2021; Fox 2020; Gentile and Schwarz 2020). (Based on joint work with Jeremy Kuhn and David Nicolas.)


Fox, Danny (2020). “Partition by Exhaustification: Towards a Solution to Gentile and Schwarz’s Puzzle”. Cambridge, MA. url: https://semanticsarchive.net/Archive/TljZGNjZ.

Gentile, Francesco and Bernhard Schwarz (2020). “Higher-Order Quantification and Free Choice in How Many-Questions”. In: Sinn und Bedeutung. Vol. 24. Osnabrück, Germany, pp. 205–222. url: https://semanticsarchive.net/Archive/mZhNDA4Y.

Grimau, Berta (2020). “Structured Plurality Reconsidered”. In: Journal of Semantics 38.1, pp. 145–193. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/jos/ffaa012.

Krifka, Manfred (1991). “How to Get Rid of Groups, Using DRT: A Case for Discourse-Oriented Semantics”. In: Texas Linguistics Forum. Vol. 32, pp. 71–109.

Landman, Fred (1989). “Groups, I”. In: Linguistics and Philosophy 12.5, pp. 559–605. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/ BF00627774.

Link, Godehard (1984). “Hydras: On the Logic of Relative Constructions with Multiple Heads”. In: Varieties of Formal Semantics: Proceedings of the Fourth Amsterdam Colloquium. Dordrecht, Holland: Foris Publications. Reprinted in Link 1998, pp. 77–88.

Link, Godehard (1998). Algebraic Semantics in Language and Philosophy. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.

Schwarzschild, Roger (1996). Pluralities. Dordrecht, Holland: Kluwer.

Xiang, Yimei (2021). “Higher-Order Readings of Wh-Questions”. In: Natural Language Semantics 29, pp. 1–45. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-020-09166-8.