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The interpretation of Brazilian Portuguese bare singulars in neutral contexts

Suzi Oliveira Lima, Ana Paula Quadros Gomes


Abstract The interpretation of Bare Singular count nouns (henceforth BS nouns) has been at the center of much debate in the literature on countability in Brazilian Portuguese. In this paper, we ad- dress the question whether BS nouns may only be interpreted as mass nouns or as names of kinds, or whether they may also be interpreted as object denoting nouns. It is generally agreed that BS nouns can be interpreted as names of kinds. Furthermore, Beviláqua and Pires de Oliveira (2014) show that BS nouns are interpreted as mass nouns in contexts that favor a mass interpretation. However, the preferred interpretation of BS nouns in neutral contexts (i.e. contexts that favor neither a count nor a mass interpretation) has never been investigated experimentally. We present the results of two experiments, which show that speakers tend to interpret BS nouns as count nouns in neutral contexts.



contável-massivo; semântica; quantificação

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