Proceedings of FDSL 10.5, Brno 2014
Edited By Markéta Ziková, Pavel Caha and Mojmír Dočekal
The Story of Polish Para: From a Group Noun to a Measure Word and Indefinite Quantifier
Abstract In this paper I trace the semantic change the Polish measure word para (‘pair’) and quantifier parę (‘several, a few’) have undergone. I show that both words originated from the Old Polish group noun pår (‘pair’) and explore both historical and Modern Polish data concerning puzzles related to the distribution and interpretation of para and parę in phrases with regular count nouns and pluralia tantum. Building on Krifka’s (1995) theory of common nouns which I extend with the group-forming operation developed by Landman (1989, 2000) I propose a semantic analysis of the Modern Polish measure word para which can be further used to reconstruct its semantic development. The analysis assumes distinct denotations of singular and plural regular count nouns on the one hand and mass nouns and pluralia tantum on the other.
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