Genericity in Language
|Numero in collana||03|
|Collana||Memorie del Laboratorio di Linguistica della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa|
|Descrizione||Genericity in Language|
This contribution deals with the semantic manifestations and the syntactic encoding of genericity in natural language – that is, with sentences that express some kind of regularity and normativity, abstracting away from reference to specific events or facts. Assuming as a starting point the most valuable achievements of the current literature on genericity – in particular the distinction between sentence-level and NP-level genericity – this book aims at decomposing genericity into its modular components, by means of a detailed examination of the contribution of grammatical aspect – in particular imperfectivity – and of the internal syntax of noun phrases. The result is an updated Carlsonian analysis according to which generic sentences are categorical statements ascribing properties to a subject of predication. Theoretically, this case-study intends to argue in favor of an approach to the semantics of natural language that assigns a central position to the issues of logical form – in full agreement with Davidson’s program in semantics – and in favor of the view that many issues of logical form can be successfully dealt with only by taking into account the contribution of formal syntax.