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On the Syntax of Quantity in English

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Abstract

<i>Many </i>and <i>few </i>are adjectival modifiers of an unpronounced noun NUMBER and the same holds for <i>much </i>and <i>little </i>as modifiers of AMOUNT. This reflects a broader property of UG, namely that UG excludes the possibility that a single adjective could simultaneously express what is expressed by <i>large/small </i>and what is expressed by <i>number</i>. This property in turn can be seen as a special case of UG imposing a maximum of one interpretable syntactic feature per lexical item (Principle of Decompositionality). The analysis is extended to <i>a few </i>and<i>quite a few</i>, to <i>numerous </i>and to questions of scope and polarity.

References

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