Manifestations of Genericity
Manifestations of Genericity offers a unified analysis of minimally contrasting generic sentences with indefinite singular (IS) and bare plural (BP) subjects - as in 'A bird flies' versus 'Birds fly' - within the framework of formal semantics. Beyond the classic distinction between quantificational and kind predication genericity, there is another important distinction in the generic domain, namely the distinction between two types of quantificational, modalized (I-) generalizations: 'in virtue of' generalizations, expressed by both IS and BP sentences, and 'descriptive' generalizations, expressed by BP sentences alone. When combined with independent semantic and pragmatic mechanisms, the difference in accessibility relations makes correct and precise predications as to a wide range of both old and newly observed semantic, pragmatic and distributional differences between IS and BP sentences.
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