Reciprocals are Definites

Natural Language Semantics 9 (1):69-138 (2001)
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Abstract

This paper proposes that elementary reciprocal sentences have four semantic readings: a strongly reciprocal interpretation, a weakly reciprocal interpretation, a situation-based weakly reciprocal reading, and a collective reading. Interpretational possibilities of reciprocal sentences that have been discussed in the literature are identified as one of these four. A compositional semantic analysis of all of these readings is provided in which the reciprocal expression is uniformly represented as 'the other ones among them' (recasting Heim, Lasnik and May 1991a, b). A reciprocal sentence is thus a special kind of relational plural. Interpretational variability comes about by the same mechanisms of plural predication at work in relational plurals: pluralization operators, LF operations like QR, and addition of contextual information

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