The mountains are impure: the semantics of lexical plurality

Sophia Nauta, Hanna de Vries, Jenny Doetjes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


This paper is concerned with the semantics of so-called plurals of extension, a class of lexical plurals such as mountains, cliffs, skies, Hebrides, and Pyrenees. While similar on the surface to regular plural nouns, they behave differently in certain regards, including their compatibility with determiners, interpretation in half of the N partitives and possibility to occur as weak definites. We will argue that plurals of extension denote predicates over impure atoms, predicting that they
behave as singulars from a semantic point of view and as plurals from a morphological point of view. The analysis will be extended to temporal plurals of extension and plural mass nouns.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SALT 32
Editors John R. Starr, Juhyae Kim, Burak Öney
PublisherLinguistic Society of America
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2022


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