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The internal syntax of Q-words

Karen De Clercq

Abstract: This paper aims at describing Q(uantity)-words, i.e. many/much and few/little, from a typological perspective, and presenting typological generalisations based on it. The typological sample provides support for a mass-count and positive-negative dimension in the domain of Q-words. Both dimensions also intersect. Along the negative dimension, it seems that languages fall into two groups: those having an opaque strategy for few/little and those having only an analytic strategy (not-much/many). Four patterns can be discerned on the basis of the sample, which are each exemplified by means of one language, i.e. English, Dutch, Wolof and Western Armenian. In addition, I make an attempt at developing a nanosyntactic analysis of the data, which aims to show how language variation in the domain of Q-words can be accounted for in terms of varying the size of lexically stored trees (Starke 2014). Finally, I show how one missing type of pattern is underivable on the basis of the analysis proposed.
Keywords: words / typological / negative dimension / language / few/little / aims / analysis proposed / stored trees / analytic strategy

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