Licensing by Modification: Existential Readings of Bare Plurals in Farsi
Zahra Mirrazi
July 2021

Dayal (2004b) predicts a language in which bare plurals have more restricted existential readings than bare singulars, ‘Hindi-in-reverse’, to be impossible. In this paper, I provide novel data showing that Farsi is in fact such a language. Nonetheless, I argue that Dayal’s account can be extended to Farsi. I propose that the unexpected pattern arises due to the special property of Farsi plural marking as a MAX operator (Jasbi, 2014). Existential readings of Farsi bare plurals only become available when they are modified. Farsi bare plurals represent the mirror image of Italian bare plurals, in the effect of licensing by the modification. I show that Dayal’s (2004a) proposal for the role of modification in licensing generic readings of Italian bare plurals can be extended to Farsi as well. Following her proposal, I take modifiers to introduce a situation variable. I also assume that Farsi bare plurals, like Italian bare plurals, lack a situation variable. This shared property, when carried by inherently definite bare plurals in Farsi, create the mirror image of the role of modification in licensing of Italian bare plurals, which are inherently existential.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005799
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 25
keywords: bare plural, modification, definite, situation variable, existential reading, semantics
previous versions: v2 [February 2021]
v1 [February 2021]
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