24.921 Special Topics in Linguistics: Genericity

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 by MIT OCW. Adapted from Heim, Irene. "The Semantics of Definite and Indefinite Noun Phrases." Doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1982, p. 146.)

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.

Recommended Citation

For any use or distribution of these materials, please cite as follows:

Paula Menéndez-Benito, course materials for 24.921 Special Topics in Linguistics: Genericity, Spring 2007. MIT OpenCourseWare (http://ocw.mit.edu/), Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Downloaded on [DD Month YYYY].

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Prof. Paula Menéndez-Benito

Course Meeting Times

One session / week
3 hours / session