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The Conference

The aim of this conference is to bring together data and works on different languages on the distinction between strong and weak reference. Because lots of works have been done on weak indefinites, we would like to encourage discussions on weak reference of definites and bare nouns. One issue is to identify the conditions under which these NPs give rise to weak interpretation. The following questions could be adressed :

(i) What distinguishes weak reference from strong reference? On which criterion to anchor the distinction between strong and weak reference?

(ii)  Can we transpose the distinction between strong and weak readings from indefinites to definites? What weak definites and weak indefinites have in common, which properties do they share?

(iii)  What is the relationship between weak reference and semantic incorporation, and between weak reference and number neutrality?

(iv)  Do we have to analyze weak definites as functional terms?

(v)  Are weak definites kind-referring expressions? Could we say, as Aguilar-Guevara & Zwarts (2010), that weak definites are expressions that refer to the same sort of kind individuals that definite generics refers to?

Since only certain nouns, when associated with certain verbs, can give rise to weak definite  readings, how articulate questions of lexical and compositional semantics? Is there a relation between weak reference and concepts? Why read the newspaper  give rise to a weak reading, while read the book doesn’t ?

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