Zero N: number features and ⊥
Luisa Marti
October 2017
 

Why does zero combine with morphologically plural nouns in languages like English (zero apples vs. *zero apple) or Spanish? Why does it combine with morphologically singular nouns in other languages, such as Turkish and Hungarian? Why is zero N impossible in yet other languages, such as Western Armenian? Is this related to how the other numerals in the language combine with nouns? In this squib I show that there is an independently-justified, compositional semantics answer to these questions that combines Martí’s (2017a) account of the morphology and semantics of the numeral+noun construction, based on Harbour’s (2014) number features and on Scontras (2014), and Bylinina and Nouwen’s (2017) semantics for zero. I show that once these assumptions are in place, the number marking on the noun that accompanies zero falls out without further stipulation. Given that Martí (2017a) shows that a Sauerland-style approach to plurality (Sauerland 2003) is not necessary in the account of the morphology and semantics of the numeral+noun construction (Martí 2017b, building on Farkas and de Swart 2010, shows it is not necessary in the account of plurality more generally), this squib also shows that a Sauerland-style approach to plurality is not necessary in the account of the properties of zero N, contra Bylinina and Nouwen (2017).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003627
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: manuscript
keywords: zero, numeral+noun construction, number features, semantics, morphology, syntax
previous versions: v2 [August 2017]
v1 [August 2017]
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