Spanish bare plurals and topicalization

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Taking issue with the unsatisfactory aspects of the “ambiguity” approach to BPLs, Dobrovie-Sorin and Laca (1996, 1998, 2003) endeavoured to develop an account that could recover Carlson’s (1977) original insight as to the semantic uniformity of English BPLs, while at the same time doing justice to the behavior of BPLs in Spanish-like languages. In this account, BPLs are basically 〈e,t〉-type expressions that denote plural properties. Subsequent work by Cohen and Erteschik-Shir (Cohen & Erteshick-Shir 2002; Cohen 2007, 2009) has provided formally explicit answers to many of the questions left open by Dobrovie-Sorin & Laca. However, the hypothesis they formulate, according to which Topics may not be incorporated, so that BPL-Topics may only compose via “covert nominalization”, meets a serious problem: Spanish exhibits apparently “topicalized” BPLs. This paper addresses the problem of “topicalized” BPLs, which appear at the left edge of the clause and are excluded from clauses with a reduced CP-structure. We sketch an analysis in which the type-shifting operation on the verb required for the existential import of such structures is triggered by a null property-denoting nominal, whose existence in Spanish is independently suggested by cases of indefinite argument drop and by NPs/DPs lacking a nominal head.


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