Universal quantification and aspect: examining collective and distributive interpretations

Date / Time

March 19, 2021 - March 19, 2021

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Liliana Sánchez, Megan Marshall, Marina Sokolova (UIC) & Gabriel Martínez Vera (Goethe-Universität)

In this talk, we discuss subject position universal quantification in combination with verbal predicates compatible with collective or distributive interpretations in English, Spanish and Russian. We make the novel generalization that, while sentences with universal quantifiers in subject position in English exhibit a preference for distributive interpretations and in Spanish they are compatible with distributive and collective interpretations, their Russian counterparts with a perfective predicate are only compatible with a collective interpretation. We attribute these contrasts to a syntactic-semantic difference that arises due to the interaction between the quantified expressions in question and the nature of the predicate in the structures of these languages, which may display a contrast in terms of inner aspect. We also present the design of an empirical study to test our proposal with dominant speakers of the three languages and heritage speakers of Spanish and Russian to explore the extent to which crosslinguistic influence from English may influence the heritage speakers’ interpretation of these constructions.

Part of the UIC Talks in Linguistics.

Zoom link and additional details at hip.uic.edu

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