Varieties of Indefinites

Abstract
Languages that have determiners often have a rich inventory of them. In English, indefinite determiners include a(n), some, a certain, this, one, another, cardinals, partitives, the zero determiner of bare plurals (in some analyses), and, according to Horn 1999 and Giannakidou 2001, any. Despite the attention indefinites have received in the literature, characterizing what is common to all of them and what is specific to each is still an elusive task. This paper investigates the first three determiners in this list, attempting to provide a semantic characterization that accounts for their distribution. (For pertinent discussion of issues that overlap to some extent with those taken up below, see Kamp and Bende-Farkas 2002, and for a discussion of the French versions of some and a certain, see Jayez and Tovena (this volume).) The Ds that concern us here share two characteristics: (i) they are indefinite, and (ii) they are existential when not in the scope of any operator or quantifier. As seen in [1], they may occur as pivots in existential there constructions, and therefore all three form weak DPs.
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