This paper investigates the syntax and semantics of floating numeral phrases in Guaymí, an indigenous language in Panama. It compares two common approaches to the syntax of floating quantifiers, the stranding approach and the adverbial approach (Nakanishi 2003, 2007), and it finds the latter to more accurately explain the distribution of these floating numerals. Guaymí floating numerals feature adverb distributions typical of this class in the language, and they also do not co-occur with multiplicatives, suggesting their membership in this adverb class in particular. In order to explain the association between adverbial numerals and nouns, the semantic proposal follows Kennedy (2012) in formalizing floating numerals as event measurement phrases. This means that floating numerals bear the semantic function of measuring out the theme of an event (argument). By anchoring the meaning of floating numerals to events and themes, the proposal also explains the sensitivity of floating numerals to the thematic role of nouns.
Proceedings of the 37th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by D. K. E. Reisinger and Marianne Huijsmans Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-477-5 hardback
v + 225 pages
publication date: 2021
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA