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Daniel M. Language Sciences. 2020. Vol. 81. P. 101256.

The Animacy Hierarchy was introduced as a cross-grammatical factor which governs, in different languages, widespread splits of nominal categories, including case or number marking. Among other phenomena, the Animacy Hierarchy has been invoked to describe the lexical distribution of associative plurals. In this paper I argue that associative plurals as an interpretation of nominal plurality is not licensed by the high position the respective noun holds on the Animacy Hierarchy but is a combined effect of coercion by the unique reference inherent to proper names and associative links easily recoverable for human referents. Interpretation of associative plurals relies upon activation of set relations its referent holds to other entities in the speech act situation. Associative plural is argued to be an indexical rather than a functional semantic category.

Added: Oct 30, 2019