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The Average American has 2.3 Children

By Greg Carlson and Francis Jeffry Pelletier

Abstract

Average-NPs, such as the one in the title of this paper, have been claimed to be ‘linguistically identical ’ to any other definite-NP but at the same time to be ‘semantically inconsistent ’ with these other definite-NPs. To some this is an ironclad proof of the irrelevance of semantics to linguistics. We argue that both of the initial claims are wrong: average-NPs are not ‘linguistically identical ’ to other definite-NPs but instead show a number of interesting divergences, and we provide a plausible semantic account for them that is not ‘semantically inconsistent ’ with the account afforded other definite-NPs but in fact blends quite nicely with one standard account of the semantics for NPs.

Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.189.4378
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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