Bare Nominals and Optimal Inference

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In this paper I discuss four type of bare nominal, and note that, in some sense, all of them appear to imply stereotypicality. I consider an account in terms of Bidirectional Optimality Theory: unmarked (bare) forms give rise to unmarked (stereotypical) interpretations. However, it turns out that, while the form of bare numerals is unmarked, the interpretation sometimes is not. I suggest that the crucial notion is not unmarkedness, but optimal inference: unmarked forms give rise to interpretations that are best used for drawing inferences. I propose a revision of Bidirectional Optimality Theory to reflect this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalZAS Papers in Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


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