The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LF Reading Group 3/30 - Ido Benbaji and Yash Sinha (MIT)

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Speaker: Ido Benbaji and Yash Sinha (MIT)
Title: Counting pairs: the logic of Hindi co-compounds
Time: Wednesday, March 30th, 1pm – 2pm

A noun phrase consisting of a numeral n and a conjunction of two nouns can denote either n or 2n individuals; e.g. ten men and women can refer to a collection of ten people, including both men and women (the mixed reading), or to a collection of ten men and ten women (the doubled reading) (Dalrymple 2004). The doubled reading has been accounted for by positing a mechanism for numeral doubling (semantic or syntactic), by which a numeral preceding conjunction can be interpreted on each of the conjuncts (Champollion 2015, a.o.). We argue that numeral doubling cannot be the only mechanism to generate doubled readings based on the behavior of Hindi co-compounds, which only admit doubled readings with a constrained set of coordinations. We further claim that the co-compounds which give rise to the doubled reading, denote sets of pairs, that are treated by numerals as atomic elements, resulting in a doubled reading.