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Linguistic Inquiry

Winter 2020, Vol. 51, No. 1, Pages 37-74
(doi: 10.1162/ling_a_00330)
© 2018 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Inclusive Plurals and the Theory of Number
Article PDF (2.09 MB)
Abstract
I argue that an account of both inclusive plurals and the crosslinguistic typology of grammatical number requires postulating a [−atomic] feature (or something very much like it) in the structure of exclusive-plural DPs. When combined with the only theory we currently have that accounts for the crosslinguistic typology of number (Harbour 2014), theories in which the exclusive-plural DPs of a language with inclusive plurals are [−atomic]-less under- or overgenerate with respect to that typology. These problems disappear as soon as the structure of exclusive plural DPs contains a component that generates exclusive-plural interpretations, either Harbour’s [−atomic] feature (added to a system with a second, [−atomic]-less structure, a proposal compatible with, e.g., Farkas and de Swart 2010) or a predicate-level exhaustivity operator (from Mayr 2015).