Information structure and the distribution of Spanish bare plurals
Suñer’s (1982) <i>Naked Noun Constraint</i> explains the ban on bare nouns in preverbal subject position in Spanish as the result of the incompatibility between bare nouns and Topic positions. In this paper this proposal is assumed and placed inside a general hypothesis that derives the distributional facts concerning Spanish bare plurals from the interplay of semantic incorporation – the basic licensing mechanism for bare nouns − and information structure. Bare plurals are excluded as preverbal subjects because subjects are topical by default and block semantic incorporation. Bare plurals may occur as dislocated, external topics because in this case the requirement of semantic incorporation is satisfied in a sentence-internal position and contrast is inferred to obtain an adequate address for information update.