Free-choice and reduplication, A study in Breton dependant indefinites
Melanie Jouitteau
October 2014

Indefinites are felicitous with a reading where, internally to a contextually relevant set, the particular choice of referent is irrelevant. When a magician says 'Pick a card', context favors an interpretation where any card from the set would be a felicitous choice, as long as it is a card from the proposed set, as illustrated for modern Breton (Continental Celtic) in (1)a. Some indefinite constructions have this free-choice reading as the only felicitous one. This paper closely investigates such a free choice indefinite (FCI) that presents a typologically unusual morphology as illustrated in (1)b. This free-choice indefinite is realized by reduplication of the head noun around what seems like a spatial proximate deictic morpheme (-mañ-). The relevant contrast with the regular indefinite 'ur gartenn' in (1)a is loss of optionality for the free-choice reading. The sentence in (1)a is felicitous if the magician proposes only one card, whereas (1)b is not. (1) DURING A SHOW, THE MAGICIAN SAYS: a. Trapit ur gartenn Pick a card ‘Pick a card.’ b. Trapit kartenn-mañ-kartenn. pick card-here-card ‘Pick a card, any card.’ Breton In this paper, I will first investigate the DP-internal syntax and morphology of the reduplication construction in (1)b. I will propose that it results from the creation of a complex head noun by reduplication in a morphological step operated between syntax and phonological form. Next, I investigate the distribution of the Breton reduplicated FCI. I show that when preceded by a specificity marker, this construction behaves like a regular indefinite. When not preceded by this specificity marker, the noun exhibits the typical distributional restrictions of dependent indefinites. I will show that the bare use has existential quantificational force, but can acquire universal force when bound by a universal quantifier.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002403
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Tomasz Czerniak, Maciej Czerniakowski and Krzysztof Jaskuła (éds.), Representations and Interpretations in Celtic Studies, Lublin, 201-230.
keywords: free-choice, celtic, indefinites, reduplication, breton, alternatives, semantics, morphology, syntax
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