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Dual interpretation of unos sentences.

The relevant aspect in order to generate a todos reading of unos is that the unosN phrase needs to be associated with an individual level predicate. I am still working on a theoretical framework to capture this, but for the purpose of our study, the why is not really that relevant I think . In order to improve the interpretation of the indefinite, unosN is used in existential constructions or tener constructions. (1) a. Hay unos estudiantes excelentes en esta universidad. b. Esta universidad tiene unos estudiantes excelentes. All students in this university are excellent. There are excellent and non-excellent students in this university. a. Hay unas instalaciones adecuadas en esta universidad. b. Esta universidad tiene unas instalaciones adecuadas. All facilities in this university are adequate. There are adequate and non-adequate facilities in this university.


It is also worth noticing that the partitive interpretation 1b We have some excellent students in this university, and others that are not is not the most salient one, at least that is what my intuition tells me. Combining unosN with stage level predicates will never yield a todos reading. (3) (4) a. Hay unas instalaciones inundadas en esta universidad. b. La universidad tiene unas instalaciones inundadas. There are some facilities that are flooded in this university, others are not. a. Hay unos estudiantes enfermos de gripe en esta Universidad. b. Esta universidad tiene unos estudiantes enfermos de gripe. There are some students sick with the flu in this university.

As far as I can tell, the structure + unosN + individual level predicate always generates a unos as all reading, so context will not be extremely relevant. This is one of the reasons that leads to believe that this reading is grounded in the syntax, at least partially. Another phenomenon that I have noticed is that sentences such as (1) and (2) seem to work better when the individual level predicate is modified with an intensifier. These sentences seem to accept the todos reading of unos more readily than their unmodified counterparts (5) Esta universidad tiene unas instalaciones ( modernas < )

This could be due to the fact that, when we consider an interpretation of unos as todos is in fact a reading in which unos has a partitive reading discriminating between the set of individuals delimited by unosN and any other discriminator that may apply instalaciones, and en esta universidad in (5), for example and the complement of that set facilities not in this university, in example (5) . This is also true for the universal quantifier todos, but this effect of having a more readily universal reading if the predicate is modified is not present. (6) a. b. Todas las instalaciones en esta universidad son modernas. Todas las instalationes en esta universidad son muy modernas.

Both (6)a and (6)b generate a universal reading as easily. Perhaps this difference between todos and unos is that since unos has a partitive reading by default, the more restrictive the set it delimits or the more grounded in discourse it is, the more readily the universal reading will be available. As far as the prompts for the study, I think that one of my main errors so far has been in trying to come up with a context that generates the todos reading of unos. If my intuitions are right, it should actually be the other way around the todos reading is the one that arises by default, and the partitive reading is the one that needs to be generated by the context. For example, lets imagine a grade distribution for a class with ten students Alumno Antonio Berta Carlos David Estela Fernando Gustavo Hctor Inma Javier Nota 9 10 10 9 10 9 10 10 10 10

If the prompt and the two readings we want to evaluate for this class were (7) Esta clase tiene unos alumnos estudiosos. a. All students in this class are studious. b. Some students are studious, others are not.

(7)a would be available,(7) would not, so this would be an example of a filler item. If we generate a context in which not all students in the class are studious, such as

Alumno Antonio Berta Carlos David Estela Fernando Gustavo Hctor Inma Javier And we evaluate the same prompt and readings, (8)

Nota 9 10 2 9 10 9 10 3 10 10

Esta clase tiene unos alumnos estudiosos. a. All students in this class are studious. b. Some students are studious, others are not.

I am curious myself as to see what happens. My intuition tells me that both readings are available, but to what extent, I dont know. My proposal at this point would be to, first, give a small questionnaire to native speakers, focused on trying to determine whether the unosN + individual level predicates does indeed generate a todos reading, as well as a algunos reading. The questionnaire would be an off-line evaluation of a sentence including unosN + individual level predicates, given a short context for each, asking whether the partitive or general or both readings are available. If the distinction is there, we would move towards a more sophisticated experiment that would be given to native and SSL students.