LINGUIST List 32.2557

Wed Aug 04 2021

Books: Majority Quantification and Quantity Superlatives: Dobrovie-Sorin, Giurgea

Editor for this issue: Billy Dickson <>

Date: 21-May-2021
From: Tyler Simnick <>
Subject: Majority Quantification and Quantity Superlatives: Dobrovie-Sorin, Giurgea
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Title: Majority Quantification and Quantity Superlatives
Subtitle: A Crosslinguistic Analysis of Most
Series Title: Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics
Published: 2021
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Book URL:

Author: Carmen Dobrovie-Sorin
Author: Ion Giurgea
Hardback: ISBN: 9780198791249 Pages: 304 Price: U.S. $ 100
Paperback: ISBN: 9780198791256 Pages: 304 Price: U.S. $ 40

This book investigates the syntax and semantics of proportional "most" and other majority quantifiers across languages. Carmen Dobrovie-Sorin and Ion Giurgea draw on data from around 40 languages to demonstrate the existence of two distinct semantic types of "most": a distributive type, which compares cardinalities of sets of atoms, and a cumulative type, which involves measuring plural and mass entities with respect to a whole. On the syntactic side, the most significant difference is between partitive and non-partitive configurations: certain majority quantifiers are specific to partitive constructions, while others are also allowed in non-partitives. The volume also explores complex expressions of the type "the largest part" and nominal quantifiers of the type "the majority". The authors argue in favour of a quantificational analysis of "most", in contrast to many recent studies, but adopt a bipartition-cum-superlative analysis for the largest part.

The volume is a large-scale crosslinguistic investigation, offering typological insights as well as case studies from a range of languages, including German, Romanian, Hungarian, Hindi, and Syrian Arabic. The findings have implications for the study of number marking, partitivity, kind reference, (in)definiteness marking, and other crucial issues in linguistic theory.

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 04-Aug-2021