Compositionality without word boundaries: (the) more and (the) most

Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 22 (2012)
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This paper seeks to illustrate the advantages of not treating phonological words as distinguished building blocks in compositional semantics. Following Bobaljik 2012, we derive the relative readings of amount superlatives in two steps, [[[d-many] comparative] superlative]. The existence of two comparative constructions is revealed, involving more vs. the more. Each builds a different superlative construction, explaining the conflicting intuitions about superlatives in the literature, as well as puzzles relating to the definite article in superlatives.
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