Proceedings of FDSL 10.5, Brno 2014
Why is Distributivity So Hard? New Evidence from Distributive Markers and Licensors in Czech
Abstract Sentences with pluralities can be interpreted in several ways. One such interpretation involves collective action, in which the plurality, as a whole, functions as an argument. In another, distributive, interpretation, each member of the plurality fulfills the same argument role. It has been noted that the distributive interpretation is often marked. This paper discusses an experiment on Czech providing evidence that distributivity is marked because (i) readers prefer simpler syntactic structures (Minimal Attachment, Frazier, (1978)), and (ii) distributivity is syntactically more complex than the collective interpretation and the difference is marked on dependent arguments, most commonly, objects.
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