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Semantics and Distribution of the Quantifiers Mnogo and Mnogie in Russian

Student: Aleksandr Shiryaev

Supervisor: Natalia Ivlieva

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: Linguistic Theory and Language Description (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2020

English 'many' is known to be ambiguous: it can mean a large number of items (cardinal reading) and a large portion of items (proportional reading). In Russian there are two items responsible for each of the readings: mnogo is cardinal and mnogie is traditionally analyzed as proportional. In 2011 Sveta Krasikova provided her analysis of these words and showed that mnogie could be analyzed as a gradable adjective which determines its comparison class and the standard of comparison through its restrictor; mnogo is a focus-affected quantity word, which takes its comparison class and the standard of comparison from the focused item in a clause. In this work I show that this is not the full picture. There is a cardinal reading available for mnogie in certain situations: the restrictor has to be non-referential and it is essential that it can be individualized. Based on this analysis I propose revised lexical items for mnogie. I also show that although this allows solving some questions with the distribution of mnogo and mnogie, there still remain some issues.

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