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LINGUIST List 20.3837

Tue Nov 10 2009

Qs: Linguistic Strategies for Measure Phrase Readings

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        1.    Zhiguo Xie, Linguistic Strategies for Measure Phrase Readings

Message 1: Linguistic Strategies for Measure Phrase Readings
Date: 09-Nov-2009
From: Zhiguo Xie <culinguistgmail.com>
Subject: Linguistic Strategies for Measure Phrase Readings
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Ewan Klein, among many others, observed that possibly measure phrases are
ambiguous between an 'at least' reading and an 'exactly' reading. The two
readings are illustrated in the exchanges in (i) and (ii) respectively.

(i) A. The minimum height for applicants for this job is six feet.
B. Well, Mona is six feet tall; in fact she’s six feet three. (at least)

(ii) A. How tall is Mona?
B. Mona is six feet tall.
C. No, you are wrong. She’s six feet three. (exactly)

My attempt is to find languages (if any) where the 'at least' and 'exactly'
readings of 'Mona is six feet tall' are expressed through distinct
linguistic strategies (e.g. different suffixes, sentential constructions,
etc, etc). I will really appreciate any data help and/or pointers to
relevant literature.

Best,
Zhiguo

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology
                            Semantics
                            Syntax
                            Typology

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