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ERIC Number: ED175266
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Dec
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Generic Sentences in English and French.
Herschensohn, Julia
Previous accounts of "generic" have been either too broad in including several sentence types as generic, or too narrow in limiting the definition of generic to the noun or verb alone. This research critically examines data and previous treatments of the generic verb, generic noun, and generic sentence. Because every generic sentence may also have a non-generic interpretation, it is impossible to posit a unique underlying source of generics or a unique rule of semantic interpretation. This paper proposes that the interpretation of a sentence may be generic if the noun is unmarked for reference and the verb unmarked for tense and aspect. Thus generic sentences do not constitute a class apart, but are at the "abstract" pole of a continuum, (for example: The beaver builds dams.) whose opposite pole is the "concrete-referential" (for example: This beaver is building a dam.). This paper further proposes that definite/indefinite generics must be considered in relationship to one another, not in isolation. (Author/NCR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Generic
Note: Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of America Meeting (New York, December 29, 1978)