Reference to kinds and to other generic expressions in Spanish: Definiteness and number

Olga Borik, M.Teresa Espinal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston 2015. This paper is devoted to the study of definite kinds and other generic expressions, such as subkinds and definite plurals in argument position in Romance, namely Spanish. We support the claim that definite kinds denote the kind itself and are the expression of D-genericity in this type of languages. We argue that at the syntax-semantics interface definite kinds are numberless DPs composed by applying a iota operator (the meaning encoded by the definite article) to the meaning of nouns, thus constraining a generic interpretation for the sentence in which they appear. Subkinds and generic definite plurals, on the other hand, are the expression of V-driven genericity, since the generic meaning of these expressions is constrained by the type of predicate (kind and individual level predicates) they combine with. Subkinds are argued to differ from kinds in that they require Number (conceived as a realization operator). Generic definite plurals are argued to be syntactically and semantically different from both English bare plurals and definite kinds, and derived by applying an intensionalizing operator over the iota operator (Chierchia 1998).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-225
JournalLinguistic Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • definiteness
  • kind reference
  • number
  • Spanish


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