24.921 Special Topics in Linguistics: Genericity

As taught in: Spring 2007

Diagram of the sentence: If a woman is lonely, she often buys a dog.

A tripartite structure for adverbially quantified sentences. For more information, see "Bare Plurals as Indefinites" in the lecture notes . (Figure courtesy of MIT OpenCourseWare. Adapted from Heim, Irene. "The Semantics of Definite and Indefinite Noun Phrases." Doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1982, p. 146.)

Level:

Graduate

Instructors:

Prof. Paula Menéndez-Benito

Course Features

Course Description

This course will investigate the semantics of generic sentences, i.e., sentences that are used to talk about habits, tendencies, dispositions, or kinds. For instance:

  1. Dogs are good pets.
  2. The giant panda is an endangered species.
  3. A soccer player makes lots of money.
  4. Mary smokes after dinner.
  5. This machine crushes oranges.

This is a half-semester course.