Distributivity in Chiense and its Implications

Natural Language Semantics 6 (2):201-243 (1998)
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This paper gives an analysis of the Chinese distributivity marker dou 'all', which can occur not only with definite plural NPs but also with NPs whose determiner is a quantifier word such as mei 'every' or dabufen-de 'most'. Besides normal distributive predicates, it can also occur with certain types of collective predicates. The difficulties of giving a compositional interpretation to constructions of these kinds are discussed in detail. I show that we can solve those difficulties if we treat dou as a generalized distributivity marker in the sense of Schwarzschild (1991, 1996), which distributes over the members of a plurality cover. Apart from the above topic, which is more narrowly a semantics topic, this paper also discusses some syntax-semantics interface issues related to the distribution of dou's associates



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