Turkish plural nouns are number-neutral: experimental data

Agata Renans, George Tsoulas, Raffaella Folli, Nihan Ketrez, Lyn Tieu, Hanna De Vries, Jacopo Romoli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Across languages, plural marking on a noun typically conveys that there is more thanone entity in the denotation of the noun. In English, this ‘more than one’ meaning isgenerally regarded as an implicature on top of a ‘semantically unmarked’/number-neutralliteral meaning of the plural noun ([10, 18, 20]; see also [5, 12]). In Turkish, however, it iscontroversial whether plural nouns should be analysed as number-neutral or whether theyshould directly denote strict plurality [2, 19, 6]. This debate is important as it can shedlight on the meanings number marking can have across languages, thereby constrainingcross-linguistically adequate theories of the semantics of number. We tested Turkish-speaking adults and 4–6-year-old children on the interpretation of plurals in upward- anddownward-entailing contexts, as compared to the ‘not all’ scalar inference ofbazı‘some’.The results of our experiment support a theory of plural nouns which includes a number-neutral interpretation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium
EditorsAlexander Cremers, Thom van Gessel, Floris Roelofsen
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Cite this