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Course Info

  • Course Number / Code:
  • 24.921 (Spring 2007) 
  • Course Title:
  • Special Topics in Linguistics: Genericity 
  • Course Level:
  • Graduate 
  • Offered by :
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    Massachusetts, United States  
  • Department:
  • Linguistics and Philosophy 
  • Course Instructor(s):
  • Prof. Paula Menéndez-Benito 
  • Course Introduction:

  • 24.921 Special Topics in Linguistics: Genericity

    Spring 2007

    Course Highlights

    24.921 Special Topics in Linguistics: Genericity

    Spring 2007

    Diagram of the sentence: If a woman is lonely, she often buys a dog.

    A tripartite structure for adverbially quantified sentences. For more information, see "Bare Plurals as Indefinites" in the lecture notes . (Figure by MIT OCW. Adapted from Heim, Irene. "The Semantics of Definite and Indefinite Noun Phrases." Doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1982, p. 146.)

    Course Description

    This course will investigate the semantics of generic sentences, i.e., sentences that are used to talk about habits, tendencies, dispositions, or kinds. For instance:
    1. Dogs are good pets.
    2. The giant panda is an endangered species.
    3. A soccer player makes lots of money.
    4. Mary smokes after dinner.
    5. This machine crushes oranges.

    This is a half-semester course.

    Recommended Citation

    For any use or distribution of these materials, please cite as follows:

    Paula Menéndez-Benito, course materials for 24.921 Special Topics in Linguistics: Genericity, Spring 2007. MIT OpenCourseWare (, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Downloaded on [DD Month YYYY].


This course content is a redistribution of MIT Open Courses. Access to the course materials is free to all users.

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