Generic bare singulars in Brazilian Portuguese

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The analysis of the generic readings of Bare Singulars in Brazilian Portuguese is controversial: for Munn &amp; Schmitt (1999, 2005) and Schmitt &amp; Munn (2002) generic Bare Singulars are names of kinds, whereas for M&#252;ller (2002) they are indefinites bound by a generic operator. This paper provides two arguments against M&#252;ller: (i) relying on a detailed corpus study by Pires de Oliveira <i>et al.</i> (2007), we argue that M&#252;ller&#8217;s judgments are not shared by all speakers of Brazilian Portuguese; (ii) we provide theoretical and crosslinguistic evidence against analyzing generic Bare Singulars as indefinites bound by a generic operator. We make explicit Munn &amp; Schmitt&#8217;s analysis of kind-referring BSs in BrP by proposing that they rely on Chierchia&#8217;s Down operator (1998). The contrast between generic Bare Singulars and generic Definite Singulars, both of which are kind-referring, is explained based on Dobrovie-Sorin &amp; Pires de Oliveira (2007).


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