The Generic Book
Gregory N. Carlson, Francis Jeffry Pelletier
University of Chicago Press, Aug 1, 1995 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 463 pages
A generic noun phrase is one that denotes a kind; a generic sentence reports a regularity that summarizes groups of particular episodes or facts. Standard semantic theories of reference have much trouble accounting for generic sentences and noun phrases, and the lack of an acceptable theory of such expressions has posed a serious epistemological problem for linguistics and philosophy. In an attempt to address this theoretical gap, a group of semanticists, calling itself the Generic Group, has worked to develop a common view of genericity. Their research has resulted in this book, which consists of a substantive introduction and eleven original articles on important aspects of the interpretation of generic expressions. The introduction provides a clear overview of the issues and synthesizes the major analytical approaches to them. Taken together, the papers that follow reflect the current state of the art in the semantics of generics, and afford insight into various generic phenomena. The Generic Book will be a valuable source of facts and insights about generic constructions, and will appeal to linguists, logicians, and philosophers who are interested in genericity in language.
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List of Contributors ix
StageLevel and IndividualLevel
IndividualLevel Predicates as Inherent
Focus and the Interpretation
Indefinites Adverbs of Quantification
What Some Generic Sentences Mean
Semantic Constraints on TypeShifting
adverb adverb of quantification analysis analyzed anaphora antecedent approach assignment assume bare plural Bermuda Triangle bird Carlson characterizing sentences Consider context count nouns D-structure defeasible defeasible reasoning definite denote derived discussion domain donkey entailment entities episodic example existential closure existential quantifier existential reading express fact focus function GEN-operator habitual Heim i-level predicates indefinite descriptions indefinite NPs individual individual-level predicates interpretation introduced John kind predicates kind-referring NPs knows French Kratzer Krifka language lexical linguistic lion Logical Form Mary smokes mass nouns meaning Modus Ponens nonmonotonic normal notion noun phrases nuclear scope operator Pelletier plural NPs possible worlds propositions Q-adverbs quantifier refer relation representation restrictive clause restrictor rhino Robert Musil rules Schubert singular situation stage-level predicates stative structure syntactic taxonomic tense theory tiger tion true Tweety type-shifting typical unaccusative universal quantifier usually variable verb verbal predicate