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Semantics and Distribution of the Quantifiers Mnogo and Mnogie in Russian

Student: Aleksander Shiryaev

Supervisor: Natalia Ivlieva

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: Linguistic Theory and Language Description (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2020

This work continues research of quantifier words mnogo and mnogie started by S. Krasikova in 2011. According to her analysis mnogo is a focus-affected quantifier, which determines its comparison class on the basis of clause focus. Mnogie is a generalized quantifier which determines its comparison class through the restrictor. Mnogo means a relatively large number of objects (cardinal reading), mnogie means a relatively large ratio of the total number of objects (proportional reading). In this work I show that mnogie has a cardinal reading in addition to the proportional one. The choice of each reading is based on definiteness of the set of objects modified by mnogie. It his set is explicitly stated in the discourse or presupposed, then the reading will be proportional. Otherwise mnogie will be cardinal. I also show that mnogie has distributive properties which are especially salient in its cardinal reading. Availability of this property allows explaining existence of minimal pairs containing mnogo and cardinal mnogie. Questions regarding the restrictions on usage of mnogie in existential sentences and availability of cardinal mnogie in subject position remain open.

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